Facebook opens the walled garden door; Here's how you download your data

Summary:The service is built off of Facebook's Graph API and pulls down photos, videos and posts into a zip file.

Updated: Facebook on Wednesday said it will allow its users to take their information to another service, via a feature called "download your information."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that people should take their data "wherever they want." The service, which will roll out later today, is built off of Facebook's Graph API and pulls down photos, videos and posts into a zip file. Sounds pretty handy.

Gallery: How to download your Facebook data

The move is an interesting one. For starters, Facebook's move will be well received. Folks may not actually take their information away from Facebook, but they will certainly appreciate the option. By opening up data portability, Facebook is more likely to keep people in the fold. Just because a door is open doesn't mean you'll leave.

Other key points:

  • Facebook is also planning an apps dashboard that will highlight applications that have permissions so you can manage them.
  • Download you information will verify your identity before moving data via password, confirmation and CAPTCHA. The feature rolls out today.
  • Facebook is apparently allowing you to map your social graph to the real-world friend network via an algorithm. Potentially creepy, but could be effective. In a blog post, Zuckerberg primarily outlined the new Groups feature.

But the real headliner is the Facebook data to zip file move. Overall, the data portability move is a good one.

A few key questions:

  • How many folks will actually download their data beyond photos?
  • How much does download your data help Facebook in the perception and PR department? (Hint: A lot).
  • Can Facebook implement this feature in a way that won't confuse anyone?

So far, the downloading of your data seems pretty straightforward.

Head to account settings...

You'll get an option for download your data. Then request download...

Facebook prepares data...

Download zip file once you verify your identity...

After you unzip, you get a Facebook page with your local data.

Topics: Social Enterprise

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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