Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, recently announced a new little concession that the company is making in regard to user privacy. Facebook users can download their information in a zip file from Facebook, much like your permanent record on Facebook.
It took a little time to get it phased in for every user, but you will probably notice that the option has appeared in your account settings. You will go to Account Settings and scroll down toward the bottom to Download your information. Click on “Learn more.” You will be prompted for your Facebook password, and after requesting your information, a message informs you that you will be notified after they get the file ready for you.
Where is the information?
Most of us have wondered about what happens to the data that we post on Facebook. Some warn that it continues to exist after you delete it; some say that you can’t even delete the account. I have heard law officers warn a group of teens that the things they post on Facebook and Myspace are archived in a data center in West Virginia or North Carolina, accessed by law officers, colleges, and prospective employers.
So, I was very curious about what was in my “permanent record ” file from Facebook. Would it bring up remarks that I had made years ago? Would things be in this file that I thought I had deleted? I was uneasy what I would find.
Accessing the file
It did not even take an hour for me to receive an email notification that my file was ready. After clicking on the link, you can choose to open the file or save it. It is simpler to save it and then open it. It is a zip file, and you can easily extract the contents to another file. More recent computers have a menu choice called “extract files,” or you can use whatever unzip program that you normally use.
What was in there?
It was quite anti-climatic after I finally figured out how to open the file. I had tried to open it straight from the Internet with no success, as the suspense continued to build. However, the information in my file was nothing that I could not access from my Facebook account already. I felt like Geraldo Rivera and the Vault. (If you don’t know what that means, it’s past your bedtime.)
Gee, Thanks, Mark!
It did not appear to be anything but what was in my Facebook account online; Zuckerberg didn’t give us anything that we didn’t have already. I had previously deleted much of my material, and it seemed to reflect that . I didn’t check play for play, but it seemed pretty much to follow what is there within my account at this moment and only that.
The starting date of the information was the same; I went back and checked. The messages in my private message file were also listed, and this did remind me that I want to delete most of these. I religiously delete public material, but I had forgotten about the email type messages.
There was no mysterious information that I had deleted and forgotten about, or at least not that I noticed. There were no embarrassing pictures that showed up in other people’s photos. This is not to say that there is not an archived file somewhere with my deleted, old postings. What it does say is that this is not the tool to help me find it.