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download facebook informationFollowing a European court decision, Facebook recently upgraded the feature that allows users to download an archive of their personal data. The archive option has been available since 2010 and includes photos, videos, and messages, among other information. The new expanded archive also contains login and logout details, information about the so-called data or tracking cookies, and more.

Read on to learn how you can download your Facebook archive and what exactly it contains.

The Background Story

Facebook’s archive feature is owed to Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, who requested a copy of his data saved by the social network. Facebook sent him a CD that contained over a thousand pages. Shocked by the extent of personal information collected by Facebook, Schrems launched Europe vs. Facebook and animated ten of thousands of users to request a copy of their saved data from Facebook.

This eventually forced Facebook to introduce the archive feature in 2010. However, not satisfied with the data offered by the archive option, Schrems filed several complaints with the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland, which led to the recent upgrade.

How To Download Your Data

  • To download your data, log into Facebook, then click the little arrow in the top right and select Account Settings.

download facebook information

  • In the bottom left of your General Account Settings find the line of text that says Download a copy of your Facebook data and click the link.

download facebook data

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  • This will take you to the page where you can download your archive. You can click the big green Start My Archive button but this will only download the regular archive. To download the expanded archive, which contains additional information, find the respective link towards the bottom of the description.

download your facebook information

  • To initiate the download of an archive, you have to confirm with your password. After your archive is started, Facebook will be working to create it and email you once it is ready for download.

download facebook information

What Is Included In The Archives?

You can select between two types of archives – the default archive and the expanded archive. The information contained in each of these is pre-determined by Facebook and cannot be customized. The following information is taken directly from the Facebook Help Center.

The regular archive contains the following information:

  • Your profile (timeline) information, e.g. your contact information, interests and groups.
  • Wall (timeline) posts and content that you and your friends have posted to your profile (timeline).
  • Photos and videos that you have uploaded to your account.
  • Your friend list.
  • Notes you have created.
  • Events to which you have RSVP’d.
  • Your sent and received messages.
  • Any comments that you and your friends have made on your Wall (timeline) posts, photos, and other profile (timeline) content.

The expanded archive additionally contains this information:

  • IP addresses: Any IP addresses we have stored.
  • Login information: A list of the logins we have stored.
  • Log out information: The IP addresses from which you logged out.
  • Pending friend requests: Friend requests you sent and friend requests you received but haven’t accepted or denied.
  • Account status changes: Dates when your account was reactivated, deactivated, disabled or deleted.
  • Poke information: Information about the pokes you’ve exchanged.
  • Events information: Events you accepted, declined, and responded maybe to.
  • Other profile (timeline) information:- The mobile phone numbers you’ve added to your account- Your city and hometown- The names of the family members you’ve listed on your account- Your relationship information.
  • A list of the languages you’ve added to your profile.
  • A history of any changes you’ve made to the name on your account.

What the archives do not contain:

  • Comments you made on another user profile (timeline) or page.
  • A list of posts or pages you have liked.
  • Facebook app information.

We have previously shown you alternatives to downloading your data from Facebook:

Do you trust Facebook with your private pictures and videos? Have you ever seen the need to download an archive and what did you discover?

  1. Tony Hallman
    July 19, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    I need to be able to see my Timeline just like on a web page, i.e. html page with clickable links. I need this because my Timeline after a few months back is slow to load and crashes. And the download of my archive misses important information, such as many links.

  2. DHAVA;
    June 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    i was delete my account on 1/1/2016 and i have a archive in my email and i want to start a my id and restore all data like a chat,photo & video and all things. so possible that data was upload in my that ID ?

  3. johann
    November 24, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    how long does it take FB to send the link for my data to be downloaded??

    • Tina Sieber
      November 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      At least a few hours, possibly up to a week.

  4. Scott
    May 23, 2015 at 6:36 am

    when you download your data, you click into the html folder, and when you check your messages, there is a list of identification numbers at the start before the messages begin...... is that list of identification numbers a list of all the people that you have messaged or who have messaged you?

  5. Rico
    April 7, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Hi

    Do you know how to download the fan's data(email) at page?

    Thanks

  6. Rebecca
    March 25, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Hi
    I'm waiting on the email to get the down load. I wanted to know if this download will contain the photos and videos I have posted in a format that I can reload them to a new page on an individual or album basis? I'm clear that Facebook does not allow us to just reload all the data to another profile or page on mass.
    regards
    B

  7. Diane
    February 3, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    I've gotten the email from FB that my archive is downloaded but when I click on the link it tells me my current security settings won't allow it? Can you guide me as to how to change my security settings? Thanks.

    • Tina
      February 4, 2015 at 9:31 am

      What is the exact error? Does it refer to your Facebook security settings or does your browser not allow pop-ups or downloads?

  8. L.A.
    January 11, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I am locked out of Facebook temporarily as they are forcing me to convert to a page. I've tried several times to download my profile, but I never get the promised email containing my information. In the meantime, I am locked out of Facebook and unable to contact anyone from the network for help. My profile is ten years old. Do you supposed it is too big to download?

    Thank you.

    • Tina
      February 4, 2015 at 9:32 am

      It can take a while for the profile to download, but meanwhile you should have received the material. Maybe you are restarting the process every time you're requesting the download anew? The only thing I can recommend is patience.

  9. Israel
    October 11, 2012 at 1:56 am

    How can I upload the downloaded information to another page? I just converted my profile page to a fan page.

  10. Milly
    October 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    hey I download my fb data but now I don't know how to upload it in another account? what to do next? thanks in advance

    • Tina
      October 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Milly,

      As far as I know it is not possible to upload your Facebook data to another account. It's just meant as a backup for yourself, not as a way to restore the data.

    • Milly
      October 10, 2012 at 6:09 am

      thank you Tina! so I need to do everything manually? I wanted to merge 2 profiles, facebook help section says this:

      "We don't currently offer a way to merge two accounts. We recommend downloading the information you've added to the account you don't want to keep. Then, add the account you're keeping as an admin for any Groups or Pages you manage.
      Once you've moved all of your info onto a single account, please delete your duplicate account"

      so I've downloaded all the data of one account but have no clue how to move that info from the zip file to another account? I've unpacked in a folder and can read and see some of the things, but do I have to do upload it manually to the account I want to keep? sorry to bother you with so many question but facebook help is worthless, your blog is the only one that explains with screenshots! Thank you for your help!

    • Tina Sieber
      October 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      Milly,

      I'm afraid you have to do it manually. If there is another way, I don't know about it and Facebook isn't clear. You might want to double-check and ask the question on MakeUseOf Answers.

  11. Igor
    October 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Hello Tina,

    Thanks for your clear explication !

    i downloaded my facebook content today (october 2012) and when i open the wall html page, i have only contents until the 30th December 2011. Do you have an idea why i can not get or how i can get the contents from 2012 too ?

    I hope you will have time to reply me... :)

    • Tina
      October 7, 2012 at 7:12 am

      Igor,

      I'm afraid I have no explanation why the data from 2012 is not included. It doesn't really make sense. Did you try to download another archive? Maybe it's a bug.

  12. emma
    October 2, 2012 at 11:43 am

    ive downloaded my facebook data, how accurate are the times i logged into facebook and dates? as some i didnt think i had logged in on that time and that date and how do i see what ive searched for, also my pokes dont come up, is it because i deleted them? TIA

    • Tina
      October 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Emma,

      Maybe you logged into Facebook with mobile devices and those are the login data you see. Note that not everything is backed up using the archive feature, including what you searched or your pokes.

  13. Els
    September 29, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thanks for the article Tina - I was wondering if you could help me with something? I have attempted to download my archive several times, but when I click the link provided in the email, it automatically redirects me to https://www.facebook.com/settings, and nothing is downloaded. My profile is a normal Timeline - I have tried this repeatedly, and I get the same behaviour every time. Do you know of anyone else who has encountered this problem? It's incredibly frustrating because I want to get a copy of my history so I can make good on my promise to quit Facebook entirely.
    Any help greatly appreciated.

    • Tina
      September 30, 2012 at 5:14 am

      Els, I am afraid this is the first time I have heard of this specific issue.

    • Missy
      October 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      I just this morning received the same link: just takes me back to general settings tab with no download option except to start download again.

  14. Irene
    September 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Hi!
    I downloaded mine last night because I badly need to have a copy of my chat conversation with someone but when I unzipped it, the messages were so incomplete! I tried clicking a friend's name in that html, hoping that it would allow me to see our expanded conversation but it didn't work. Please I need some help :(

    • Tina Sieber
      September 13, 2012 at 5:13 am

      Irene,

      I'm afraid there is not much we can do. The download is an automated service and you can't customize what downloads and how it looks like.

      Maybe there are other ways to download your chat conversation, though. While I don't know of any, you might want to ask on MakeUseOf Answers for ideas.

  15. d lasse
    September 5, 2012 at 4:23 am

    how can read my Download a copy of my Facebook data ?
    i have download but i can't read.please help me.

    • Tina
      September 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      The file you downloaded should be an archive ZIP file. If it is not, please let me know what type of file it is.

      What operating system are you using? Windows users can open ZIP files with WinZip.

  16. Alex
    August 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    How to download newest copy of my Facebook data?
    Early this morning, I download my Facebook data (about 25Mb).
    In meanwhile, I upload great number of pictures and want to download
    newest copy of my Facebook data, but on download page is still
    a old copy of my Facebook data (without new pictures).
    What to do? Thanks in advance

    • Tina
      August 27, 2012 at 12:56 am

      Alex,

      Did you request a new copy of your data and was that only the old one? I'm afraid I don't know how fast Facebook will update the package. But they certainly won't do so automatically, you probably have to go through the whole process again.

    • Rachna
      August 27, 2012 at 6:34 am

      Hi Tina! Can you pl tell me how much time it will take to get email from facebook site. I have requested for my Facebook data download and from last 4-5 hrs same status is shown on FB site saying we are generating your Personal archive. I don't understand why it takes so long and people on few other sites showing that they got their emails within 15 min or 1hr so. Pl need some help...in anticipation

    • Tina
      August 27, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Rachna,

      I'm not exactly sure how long it took for me, but it was more than a few hours. I think I received the email the next day. May depend on how much material there is to archive for your profile. So...patience!

      And do let us know how long it took in the end! :)

    • alex
      August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      this is problem: there is no possibility to request new copy. I can only to click on "Download a copy" and on opened page, beneath "Re-Enter Your Password" is always a sentence "Your archive is ready to download" and there is no option for renewing data. maybe will be automated on some period (5 or 10 days)?

    • Tina
      August 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      Alex,

      I downloaded mine when i wrote this article and when I go back now, I can see the Start My Archive button. Hence, I'm guessing that there is a time limit.

      You probably can't download your archive every day or every week. Maybe you can start the process over once a month.

    • Alex
      August 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Tina, three day is limit. I realized today :) Problem solved. I'm waiting for my new archive. I hope it will help someone else. Bye

    • Tina
      August 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks for the update, Alex!

      Sorry, can't respond below, threading has its limits, too. :)

    • Alex
      August 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      :( New update and New problem. New archive appear (with new size 99Mb) but when I click on button, error message pop-up: "No webpage was found for the web address: https://bigzipfiles.facebook.com/p/dl/download/file.php". Well, must wait three more days to see what will happen then :)

  17. mariachigirl
    August 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I am more than a little ticked off at Facebook. I requested a name change from the Edit section of my Facebook settings. I went through a NASTY divorce and did not want to be still carrying my former name. after getting an instant message on my Account Settings screen saying I couldn't, I received an email from the Help Center saying that I had to provide them with proof of who I was and why I was changing my name. I sent them a copy of my DL and also a copy of the first few pages of my divorce decree. DENIED!!! they said that I didn't provide them with the right amount of info to prove my identity and for security purposes they weren't going to change it over for me. So I downloaded a copy of all my data and want to open up a new profile page and then re-load all of my pics, friends and info. I already received the email saying all of my info is on the link but where is the option to reload it??? if they woulda just let me do a name change I wouldn't be wasting everyone's time.

    • Tina
      August 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      I'm afraid there is no option to upload that information. It's just meant for you to take a personal backup, not to restore your profile.

  18. Benny
    July 18, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I downloaded my archive and have two main gripes.

    1. My "messages" archive only goes back to 2009, representing about half the time I've been on FB.

    2. The "photos-me" HTML link doesn't include any photos. If you're like me, you have a handful of mobile uploads and a handful of albums, but the vast majority of the pictures of me on my profile are the ones that appear in reverse chronological order under my albums. That's probably 90% of the photos of me, and it would be awesome to have those archived.

    I suspect these aren't included because, since they weren't taken by me (I'm merely tagged in them), they aren't really "my" data. But I'd love to have them. Any way to archive THOSE? Thanks.

  19. Carolyn
    July 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    How do I get the entire archive and not just the last few months? I want stuff going back at least as far as when the Timeline feature was first offered.

    • Tina
      July 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Carolyn,

      I'm afraid there is no choice. You only get what Facebook offers you.

    • Carolyn
      July 7, 2012 at 2:38 am

      I understand that this feature came to be because of a lawsuit initiated by an individual who wanted access to all of his posts, images, conversations, etc. Facebook responded by sending him a stack of CDs/DVDs with all his content.

      So why can I not get the same?

    • Tina
      July 7, 2012 at 7:20 am

      Maybe you need to request it or go to court. It's not something Facebook offers voluntarily.

    • Carolyn Cox
      July 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

      Hi Tina,

      Facebook does not provide a means for me to request this. There is no contact phone number or name or address of a person or persons to whom I may address my request.

      Thanks

  20. sam
    July 5, 2012 at 5:15 am

    hey i wanted to ask, with the new facebook data download thing

    where can i view who have declined my friend request in the past
    if use can please help me

    thanks

    • Tina
      July 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Sam,

      I think this information is not included in the archive.

  21. Simone
    June 18, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Hi
    I moved a profile on Facebook from a 'profile' to a 'page' and prior to doing so, I requested the archive from the 'profile'. I received the email from Facebook with the link to download the archive, but it takes redirects to a 'settings' page on Facebook with no link to download. Do you know how I can access the archive? I have already moved over to a page and cannot access any of the photos, etc that were on the profile. Some advise would be great!

    thanks

    • Tina
      June 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm

      Simone,

      Maybe moving the profile before downloading the archive had an effect on the archive? Sorry, just guessing as I cannot look into your issue or reproduce it. I would try to go through Facebook help.

    • Joeri
      June 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      I did the same: moved a profile on Facebook from a ‘profile’ to a ‘page’. Now i have a archive as .zip but no option to set it back on my page. Can you help me with this?

    • Tina
      June 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Joeri,

      The archive is not meant as a backup that can be used to restore your profile or page.

      To recover a disabled or compromised page, you can try one of these two forms:
      My Facebook Page was Disabled
      Report an Issue with Facebook Pages

    • Joeri
      June 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Tina,

      Once before I was able to set back my personal profile archive into the changed page....

  22. Steve
    May 23, 2012 at 5:04 am

    After clicking on expanded archive , I get a small box that pops up and says "start expanded archive" in the blue boarder at the top.but nothing else appears and no other options are available. I tried the regular archive too with the same results. Is it my computer or Facebook?

    • Tina
      May 23, 2012 at 6:56 am

      Steve,

      The "start expanded archive" box should contain a button that says "Start My Archive". I take it you are not seeing it. Which browser are you using? Have you tried to use another one?

    • Steve
      May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Tina,
      That is correct I am not seeing the start button. I am using Explorer, and no I have not tried another browser, I shall try that. Than you for your rapid response.

    • Steve
      May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Tina,

      Yes it worked using Google Chrome. Thanks

    • Tina
      May 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Good to hear, Steve!

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  24. Anonymous
    April 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    This is ridiculous, while I understand the need for stronger security measures when privacy is concerned, especially on Facebook; I have to say I'm ashamed this person has made such a big deal out of this.

    He didn't NEED that archive, and when he got it, he didn't need to blow it out of proportions and bring Facebook to court and rally a whole bunch of users to download their archives (which again, they didn't NEED them, and just wasted Facebook's server power and manpower).

    And then he goes off and yells at some commission to get Facebook in more trouble, all because Facebook gave him a copy of his account data. Really makes companies want to be transparent, eh?

    • Jared
      April 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Actually..

      Yes he did need to make a big deal of this.. tell me why Facebook needs to keep all of this information? And then not say they are? What face book has done over the years is make the Hard to get, easy. They have opened the doors to privacy issues.

    • Carolyn
      July 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      Agreed. Why so judgemental Anonymous?

  25. John
    April 25, 2012 at 5:46 am

    The additional archive isn't on my Facebook account in Australia yet. Is is country specific, or still rolling out? It is weird, because I never got the Facebook ticker, either.

    • Tina
      April 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      The expanded archive was announced on April 11 this year. It should be available to everyone, there were no limitations reported. Did you get the the page shown in the screenshot above and is the expanded archive option missing there?

    • John
      April 26, 2012 at 12:15 am

      Hi Tina. Nope. The expanded archive is not showing at all. This is all mine says:

      What's in your archive?

      Photos or videos you've shared on Facebook
      Your Wall posts, messages and chat conversations
      Your friends' names and some of their email addresses
      (Note: We'll only include email addresses for friends who've allowed this in their account settings.)

      What's not in your archive?
      Your friends' photos and status updates
      Other people's personal info
      Comments you've made on other people's posts

      Caution: Protect your archive
      Your Facebook archive includes sensitive info like your private Wall posts, photos and profile information. Please keep this in mind before storing or sending your archive.

    • Tina
      April 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm

      Very odd. Not sure what you can do there. Maybe search Facebook Help for extended archive with a descriptive question and mark all FAQ results as not helpful. That may bring your question onto the screen of a real human. If you're lucky they will look into it and fix it. Worth a try.

  26. Alan Mowbray
    April 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Hi Tina,
    Great article.
    I was following you great - up to the point where you are offered "You can also download an expanded archive to see more about your account history."
    I do not have that option.
    What gives?
    -AL

    • Tina
      April 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Hey Alan,

      Did you get to the archive page and do you not see the "extended archive" option? The above, with the "extended archive" boxed in red, is a screenshot of what I see. So if you don't see the same, then Facebook didn't roll out that feature to your profile or geographical location (yet?). I'm accessing Facebook from Europe.

    • Debbi
      August 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I am disabling my FB account and backed up all of my information. I tried to find it in my downloads so that I can move some of my pictures to Picasa. I can't find any history of my back up. Can you help?

    • Tina
      August 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Debbi,

      How did you back up your FB account? Did you use the export feature? Did you receive the email yet, which has the download link for your data? This can take a few days.

  27. sasogeek
    April 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    wow!

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