How much of your data does Facebook really have?

Recently I wrote about checking the data you share through Facebook apps.

I hope you followed the steps and checked on the apps and pages you’ve given permission to collect personal data.

Now I want you to take a minute to see exactly what data Facebook has about you.

Did you know you can ask Facebook to send you a copy of everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook?

Yep, you can request a download of your complete Facebook history. Here’s how: In your browser, go to Look at the bottom of the General Account Settings, and you’ll see a link to “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”

Click that link and Facebook will tell you, “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.”

You’ll click the big green “Download Archive” button, and you’ll have to enter in your Facebook password.

Then the waiting begins.

Your only option is to get the data sent to the email address in your Facebook profile

It will take Facebook some time to gather all your data.

My download took overnight to prepare. You’ll get an email when the download is ready.

For your safety, when you click on the link in the email, you’ll have to re-enter your Facebook password.

Oh, there’s a lot

What will you find in the download?

You’ll get a zip file that contains several files and folders.

Your full profile information and a bunch of folders full of your data.

The folder named HTML is full of information, including a list of all the ads you’ve ever clicked on, all the advertisers with your contact information.

You’ll see a file of the contact information for all your current and former Facebook friends that they chose to share with you.

You’ll see a list of all the Facebook events your friends invited you to attend — whether you replied or not.

Your Facebook friend history will be there, with the date you became friends with each one.

There’s also a list of unanswered friend requests and friend requests that you’ve denied, as well as a list of people you’ve unfriended and people you’ve chosen to follow.

You’ll get a complete history of all your Facebook messages to all your friends. That’s a blast from the past.

There is even a full history of your pokes (I’m not proud to admit that).

What I found interesting was a page with every single Facebook post I’ve created, back from the very first post in 2008.

You’ll also get folders full of all the photos and videos you’ve posted.

Overall, it’s a very eye-opening read. It’s a lot of information, it’s all about you and it is all out there on the internet.



Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at

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