How To Bulk Download Your Facebook Data & What Information The Archives Contain

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facebook logo 300x3001   How To Bulk Download Your Facebook Data & What Information The Archives ContainFollowing 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.

Facebook Account Settings   How To Bulk Download Your Facebook Data & What Information The Archives Contain

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  • 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.

Facebook General Account Settings   How To Bulk Download Your Facebook Data & What Information The Archives Contain

  • 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.

Facebook Download Your Information   How To Bulk Download Your Facebook Data & What Information The Archives Contain

  • 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.

Facebook Start Expanded Archive   How To Bulk Download Your Facebook Data & What Information The Archives Contain

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?

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58 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

sasogeek

wow!

Reply

Alan Mowbray

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

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

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

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.

Reply

John

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

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

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

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.

Reply

Anonymous

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

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

Agreed. Why so judgemental Anonymous?

Reply

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Reply

Steve

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

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

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

Tina,

Yes it worked using Google Chrome. Thanks

Tina

Good to hear, Steve!

Reply

Simone

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

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

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?

Joeri

Hi Tina,

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

Reply

sam

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

Sam,

I think this information is not included in the archive.

Reply

Carolyn

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

Carolyn,

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

Carolyn

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

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

Carolyn Cox

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

Reply

Benny

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.

Reply

mariachigirl

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

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.

Reply

Alex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for the update, Alex!

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

Alex

:( 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 :)

Reply

d lasse

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

Tina

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.

Reply

Irene

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

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.

Reply

Els

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

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

Missy

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.

Reply

emma

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

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.

Reply

Igor

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

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.

Reply

Milly

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

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

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

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.

Reply

Israel

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

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