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Want to Leave Facebook?

Simon has been involved in software development since the days of paper tape. He has developed niche software for information management.

want-to-leave-facebook

In the light of recent actions, many people have decided to close their Facebook accounts. Whilst closing your account is not straightforward, Facebook does provide instructions, and includes a link to guidance on downloading existing information. There also many references describing the process available via Google. An additional option, not appearing in Facebook help, is to transfer photos and videos (and associated comments) to other platforms. Whether this omission is deliberate or accidental is not clear.

The personal page information download is accessed via the round down arrow button -> Settings and Privacy->Settings on the top right of the page, beside the profile icon as shown below:

want-to-leave-facebook
want-to-leave-facebook
Accessing the Download Information Option  for personal Facebook pages

Accessing the Download Information Option for personal Facebook pages

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If you decide to download, you may be surprised at the amount of information which Facebook has about you - including a list of “Off-Facebook” web sites which you visit. These are presumably gathered from the browser history. This feature can be turned via Settings-> Your Facebook Information-> Off-Facebook activity. Facebook maintain that this information is only used to serve advertisements relevant to your interests

Information downloads appear as Zip files and appear to be comprehensive. Information can be in either HTML or JSON format. In HTML format, clicking on index.html makes all this information available via a browser in a similar way to the live Facebook site as shown below:

Downloaded Facebook Information

Downloaded Facebook Information

Photos appear as JPEG files, with a standardized quality factor of 81%, which is quite adequate for viewing on a computer. However, the name of the uploaded file is not preserved. Videos appear as MP4 files. Photo and video comments are preserved as HTML and are rendered by browsers together with the image.

For pages which you administer (perhaps for a business or an organisation), the download must be performed via the Settings-> Download Page item in the Manage Page Menu on the left side of the screen.

want-to-leave-facebook
Downloading Administered Page Information

Downloading Administered Page Information

Facebook offers the option to transfer photos and videos to other platforms but limits the platforms (as of Feb 2021) to Dropbox, Koofr, Google Photos, and Backblaze B2. This option is only available for personal web pages, not administered ones. The transfer option does not appear to work using the Firefox browser (v 85.0.2 64 bit) but does work using Google Chrome (v 88.0.4324.182, 32 bit). Comments on the photos appear as information about the photos in Google Photos and the original photo date is also preserved. Photos grouped by Facebook (such as Timeline, Mobile Uploads and Profile) appear as albums.

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