When you use Facebook, you can at any time request to download your data from Facebook servers. You usually do that when you decide to close your Facebook account, want to run offline analysis on your Facebook data, or when you are curious to see what data Facebook gives back to you.
In this article, I am going to explain, in layman terms how to request your data and what to expect to find in the requested data archive.
Let’s get started!
Request the data
Facebook made it really easy to request a copy of your data. All you have to do is just go to your “Profile settings -> General” and then click on the download data button:
When you request the data, Facebook will start generating the data:
Then when the data is ready, you will receive an email:
What’s inside the data?
Once you receive the email to download the data, you will be able to download a ZIP archive. Inside the ZIP archive, you will see various folders and files.
Here are the most important files:
- index.html: this file contains the main profile page. Your email, name, birth date, groups, etc.
- photos: this folder contains various sub folders as well. The subfolder names are all numeric. Each subfolder corresponds to the albums you had online. Note that each subfolder contains an “index.htm” file that nicely renders your photos from that album.
- videos: this folder contains all the videos you uploaded
- html: this folder contains various other HTML files, each containing specific information from your Facebook data. The most important HTML files are:
- contact_info.htm: your contact information
- friends.htm: a list of all your friends
- messages.htm: a list of all the messages you ever exchanged on Facebook
- photos.htm: contains a list of all your photos and albums. In fact, this file just links to the “photos” folder from above
- pokes.htm: a list of all the pokes
security.htm: the security log. All the times you logged in, logged out, changed your password, etc..
- timeline.htm: your time line activity / wall posts / etc.
- videos.htm: an index file containing description and links to your videos in the “videos” folder
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