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Worried about your private data on Facebook? From images to ads data, here’s a step-by-step process to find out everything that the app knows about you.

Facebook Inc. has been under the spotlight for a while now, and not for good reasons. The ‘social media privacy fiasco’ has been a worry in the digital world, and I’m sure you’ve thought about this too “What does the app really know about me?”, “Does it possess any information it shouldn’t?”, “How do I check what’s up there?”. Well, if any of these questions have crossed your mind, don’t worry! We have a fix. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to download your Facebook information and access it.

How to download your Facebook data

private data Facebook

How do I navigate through the settings?

Once you’re on the Facebook app, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Open up the index on the right side of the screen and scroll down.
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’.
  3. Next, from the options, select ‘Privacy Shortcuts’.
  4. This will lead you to their primary Privacy page. Scroll down, you’ll find a section labelled ‘Your Facebook Information.
  5. Select ‘Access your information’.

This is where you’ll find all the data Facebook has on you. Right from your recent searches to your advertising information. As you scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see ‘Download your information’. Upon selecting this, you’ll be redirected to a new page where you can select and search for specific information. This could be regarding groups you’ve joined, gaming connections, payment history, your archive, posts, and much more. It’s essentially a buffet of personal information and you get to choose what you’d like to look at and download.

Once you’ve made up your mind there, you need to choose the time period for the data. Now usually, if you’re an active Facebook junkie like me who’s been there since 2009 and posted a thousand pictures, you’ll want to be ready for a hefty file. The standard way to go here is to select ‘All of my data’. Then select HTML as your preferred format and media quality as high. Once done, you’ll instantly have a download in process, or FB will tell you how long it’s going to take.

private data Facebook

You finally have your data, but how do you access it?

Well, once you have the file downloaded, you’ll see a file that says ‘index.html’, click that. This will open a new tab on your browser acting like, as the name suggests, an index. It’s pretty self-explanatory after this, click on photos for photos, interactions for interactions and so on.

Given the criticality of privacy in today’s digital world and the WhatsApp snafu, it’s always great to know what apps know about you. Don’t be alarmed, most of the data that these apps pick are what we’ve agreed to share for the app’s usage. However, if you sense a privacy breach and find something you’re not supposed to see. It’s high time you request the platform to delete the information and ditch it.

All images: Courtesy Getty.

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.