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Social archiving: how to download your Facebook data archive

November 09, 20204 min read

Social archiving: how to download your Facebook data archive

We publish large volumes of content across social platforms and our digital footprint continues to grow. But, did you know you can access an archive of your Facebook data?

The data you have held in your social media accounts is extremely valuable, not only to companies increasingly using data mining to reach customers, but also for the personal value it holds for you.

We are constantly publishing photos, commenting on posts, sharing content - sometimes this is innocuous while other times it can have a real impact, especially after some time has passed (think scandals about old tweets...). Today, we are much more aware of the digital footprint we leave behind and how this is all recorded and stored in the social platforms we use.

Having complete ownership of this data has become crucial and even though social media platforms have strengthened their privacy agreements and how they look after our information, it's can be important to keep on top of this ourselves.

Fortunately, Facebook has a built-in archiving function which allows your entire history to be compiled and presented in an easy-to-access download.

Closeup of Facebook app icon with notifications

This social media platform has played a revolutionary role in billions of peoples' lives, from their days in college right up to family life and retirement. And, whilst opinion may be currently divided on many of the social tech giants, the impact of these networks and our digital footprints has been remarkable.

Having access to a complete record of your social media data could pay dividends in time - which is why we've covered how you can download your Facebook data archive in five easy steps. 

Step one

Screenshot of Facebook settings

To start, go to your Facebook profile and under your account click the Settings option. Here, one of the first options you have is a tab called Your Facebook Information. Select this.

Step two

Screenshot of Facebook data settings

You will then be given a number of options which cover off different areas of how your data can be managed. To archive your entire data history, select the option called Download Your Information.

Step three

Screenshot of Facebook download options

Here you will be given a range of options as to which data to archive, sub-divided into categories such as friends, messages, likes and reactions, groups, photos etc.

There are tick box options along the side which comes fully selected (meaning all of this data will be included in your archive unless you unselect some of these). You can also specify the date range, format and media quality of your download.

To start the archive, click the blue button named Create File

Screenshot of Facebook download options

Step four

Screenshot of Facebook download when ready

Facebook will then start pulling together your archive which can take some time depending on how much data there is to collect. Typically though, this shouldn't take longer than 24 hours.

Once your archive is ready to download, you'll receive a notification on your profile and an email. Selecting either will bring you to the above screen, and select Download option to start getting your data. Please note, you'll need to enter your password before Facebook unlocks this archive. 

Step five

Screenshot of Facebook data archive

And there you have it! Your entire Facebook archive will be made available within your download folder. This is broken down in Excel spreadsheets, separated into categories such as 'messages', 'posts' and 'connections'. While this may look complex at first sight, this is a complete and extremely valuable hub of data to have in your possession. 

Person on Facebook on smartphone and mac

The importance of archiving your online data

At MirrorWeb, we know a lot about the importance of digital governance and preserving information for the future. As a provider of web and social archiving solutions to a range of industries (from financial services to public sector authorities) we're experienced in helping organisations archive their digital estates.