How To Download Your Facebook Data (and why you should)

Over the years, many friends have moaned that someone hacked their Facebook account, when in fact, no one had. Usually, someone had simply created a new account, grabbed some photos and info from the person’s account, and pretended to be that person. That’s not a hack. That’s just someone impersonating them, hoping to scam that person’s friend out of some money.

But in the past few days, I’ve seen a lot of people getting legitimately hacked. I have no idea what’s going on, but people’s accounts are getting hacked, and then disabled. Unable to log in, they face a huge Facebook runaround to prove their identity, and it’s not working out well for most of them. Some are unable to get back in, and they are faced with the loss of years of their photos, memories, and … well, everything.

I can’t help anyone avoid getting hacked or to get back on after they do get hacked. But I can help guide you on one thing.

How to Back Up Your Facebook Data

Obviously, you need to back up your data BEFORE you get hacked. So go do it now. And Facebook says it may take days for them to create the backup and get it to you, so you should really do this sooner rather than later. Now is a good time.

You can see these instructions on Facebook’s Help page, but just in case you can’t get to the page, here they are.

To download a copy of your Facebook data:

  1. Click account in the top right of Facebook.
  2. Select Settings & Privacy, then click Settings.
  3. In the left column, click Your Facebook Information.
  4. Next to Download Your Information, click View.
  5. To add or remove categories of data from your request, click the boxes on the right side of Facebook.
  6. Select other options, including:
    • The format of your download request.
    • The quality of photos, videos and other media.
    • A specific date range of information. If you don’t select a date range, you’ll request all the information for the categories you’ve selected.
  7. Click Create File to confirm the download request.

After you’ve made a download request, it will appear as Pending in the Available Copies section of the Download Your Information tool. It may take several days for us to finish preparing your download request.Once we’ve finished preparing your download request, we’ll send a notification letting you know it’s ready.

To download a copy of data you requested:

  1. Go to the Available Copies section of the Download Your Information tool.
  2. Click Download and enter your password.

You can also click Show more to view information about your download request, such as the format and when it will expire.Note: You can always view your Privacy Shortcuts to learn about the ways you can control your data and privacy on Facebook. If you want to review recent activity on your Facebook account or want to review your Facebook account information, you can use the Access Your Information tool.

When you download a copy of your data on Facebook, you’ll have control over which categories of data you want to include in the download, as well as which date range of data you want to include of the data you want to receive. These choices are available when you make the request for your information.

What’s the difference between an HTML or JSON copy of my data?When you request a copy of your information on Facebook, you can choose to receive it in an HTML or JSON format:

HTML: An easy to view format of your data on Facebook. You’ll receive a ZIP file that, once opened and extracted, will contain an HTML file named index that you can open like a web page on your web browser. The ZIP file will contain folders with files, including any images and videos you’ve requested.

JSON: A machine readable format of your data that could allow you to transfer your information more easily when uploading it to another service.

You can also choose the quality of your media files (photos, videos) when you request a copy of your information. If you choose a higher quality version of your media, your download will be larger and take up more space.

I recommend you choose the HTML format. I hope Facebook figures out what’s going on and can prevent people from hacking other people’s accounts, but in the meantime, I strongly suggest you backup your data if you don’t want to lose it all. Good luck!

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