Just like Google and Apple, Facebook knows almost everything we do online. Cambridge Analytica hit the headlines mid-March after it transpired that the British analytics firm allegedly acquired data from millions of Facebook users, without consent, to help target certain voters in the 2016 Presidential election.
Now Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress this week to answer questions from lawmakers in two separate congressional committees, to explain how his company collects and handles users’ personal information.
Let’s put aside this for a minute. And find out exactly what Facebook knows about me. If you want to see everything Facebook knows about you with just a couple of clicks and a bit of patience.
To Know Everything all you need to “Download your Facebook information.” Here’s how:
- Click the down arrow on your Facebook account and go to “Settings”.
- At the very bottom of the General Account Settings, you’ll see “Download a copy of your Facebook data” then click it.
- This will take you to a page titled “Download My Information.” Now click on the green button, “Start My Archive.”
- For security reasons, Facebook will prompt you to enter your password and send you two email alerts—first, “Facebook download requested” and another one when “Your Facebook download is ready.”
The process of downloading your data should take about 15 minutes; longer or shorter depending on various factors like your internet speed and your individual Facebook account—how long you have been a member of Facebook for, how active you were, and the volume of data it needs to retrieve of you.
Facebook will then let you download a zipped folder titled “facebook-yourusername.”
Once you unzip it, you will find that it contains a few different folders—for photos, videos, messages, an ‘HTML’ folder of other data, and a .htm Index file to help you navigate through different sections or categories of data.
What You Will Find
- In the Index.htm→Profile section, you will find some basic information about your profile including any profile names you have had in the past, all your contact info, any pages and interests you liked, groups you joined, and any Facebook pages you are a page administrator for.
- The Contact Info section contains all the contacts on your mobile phone. You may also find additional info if you used an Android phone—it was recently revealed that Facebook collects Android users’ call and text message data through a default opt-in feature many users weren’t explicitly aware of.
- The Timeline section contains all your status updates and posts from friends on your timeline. The Photos and Videos sections contain photos and videos you posted; the former also contains code about your Facial Recognition info.
- The Friends section contains a list of all your Facebook friends along with the date you become friends. It also contains a list of friends you unfriended and when, friend requests you declined, a list of friend requests you sent that are pending being accepted, a list of people who “Follow” you by clicking the follow button on your profile, and anyone you are following.
- It also has a section called “Friend Peer Group“—what Facebook determines your life to be. For instance, if you are in your twenties, you may be identified as “Starting Adult Life.”
- The index also contains information about every Event invite you got, every Poke and Message you’ve sent or received (even if you are not Facebook friends with the person, or if they are no longer on Facebook), any Facebook applications you installed (even if you don’t use them anymore), and any Facebook “Places” (locations) you may have created.
- There’s also a Security section tracking IP addresses, devices and browsers you logged in from with dates and timestamps.
- The Ads section contains a list of Ad Topics you are being targeted for based on interests gleaned from Facebook pages you liked.
That’s the information that Facebook shows it knows about you. If you find it a bit creepy, here’s how to delete your Facebook Data without deleting your Account.
Kanhu is the chief content writer at TechMinions. He always keeps track of the site’s daily Technology news. Direct inquiries to email@example.com