The whole world is talking about Facebook this week, and just how secure they keep their user’s data. There is no denying that Facebook knows a lot about you, but this is information that you have chosen to share with them at one point or another. In order to see what sort of data Facebook retains from its users, I decided to download my own Facebook data. It was unsettling.
Seeing as the basis of Facebook revolves around sharing and connecting to others, it is to be expected that they would have a ton of its user’s personal information stored. Nevertheless, it is shocking to see all the little details they store about you. The information they keep is seemingly harmless, but somehow it still feels a bit creepy. We will discuss what kind of personal information Facebook keeps on its users, and what you see when you download your data from them.
What does Facebook know about you?
The information they collect is categorized into these different sections:
- Contact Info
One of the most surprising discoveries was the very long list of all my mobile contacts that synced with my Facebook account. There were hundreds, and it included phone numbers from people I met last week, as well as those I have not spoken with in several years.
Additionally, it records things that users have ‘deleted’ also. In the download, they have a record of all your friends, including the ones you have deleted in the past. There were long lists of “removed friends”, along with the date that they were unfriended on the platform.
Facebook holds on to a surprising amount of personal information from their users. They most certainly have held onto more information than I cared to see, and I am sure that other users who have downloaded their data from Facebook had similar sentiments.
Here is how you can download your Facebook data
Facebook’s self-service tool gives their users the opportunity to download all of the personal data that the company retains about them.
The data they are keeping is pretty in-depth, but overall, it is not extremely sensitive information. However, some of your Facebook history might make you cringe. The image below is a screenshot of some applications that were installed, circa 2009.
Most of the information Facebook has about you are things that you don’t even think twice about opting in to. For example, you probably aren’t thinking much when you opted-in to take a “what type of dog are you?” quiz.
In order to download your Facebook data, follow the steps below:
Is it really that bad?
After going through all the different kinds of data Facebook keeps of its users, it is hard to say that the information they have is kept for malicious reasons. It is true that they know a lot about their users – it is almost alarming to look at. Yet, it still does not seem like the content they keep is extremely harmful to users (based on the downloadable information).
If you are looking for some clarity about what kind of personal information Facebook keeps, you should download your data from the platform to shed light on the situation. It may seem like an invasion of privacy, but the principle behind social media is to share and connect with others. This is what Facebook emphasizes, and it seems to be exactly what they are doing.