For better or worse, many of us share a lot of information via Facebook. Everything from weekend plans to photos of lunch get posted, shared, tagged, and shared again. After a year of use, that’s a whole lot of memories and data uploaded to Mark Zuckerberg’s little creation. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a local backup, safe and sound? You can even organize regular Facebook backups and keep them stored nice and tidy on a drive of your own. It’s easy to do. Just follow these steps:
- Log into Facebook and go to the Settings page. You can find it by clicking the disclosure triangle on the far right of the page. A menu appears. You may have to scroll a bit to find Settings.
- On the left-hand side of the Settings page, make sure General Settings is selected. There’s a list on the right. At the very bottom, you’ll see “Download a copy of Facebook data.” Click that link.
- You’ll be taken to the download overview screen. Simply click “Start My Archive.”
What exactly is backed up? As Facebook explains it:
“Timeline info, posts you have shared, messages, photos and more. Additionally, it includes information that is not available simply by logging into your account, like the ads you have clicked on, data like the IP addresses that are logged when you log into or out of Facebook, and more.”
Like me, you might not want or need all of that information. Unfortunately, there is no way to pick and choose what is backed up, at least as of this writing. Also, there is potentially a lot of sensitive information in the resulting archive. Keep it in a safe location.
Once you click Start My Archive, Facebook will get busy creating your backup. Soon you’ll get an email with a link. Click it, and you’re taken back to Facebook one more time. At last you’ll have the opportunity to share the zipped (compressed) file to your computer. Navigate to that folder and explore the archive.
You’ll find a file labeled “index”. Open that file for a HTML page linking to all of the files you downloaded. Photos, for example, are in a folder called Photos, and sorted by album.
If you’d like to have an app take care of this for you – and grab data from several other social media services at the same time – consider digi.me. It offers free software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS that will back up posts from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and several other social media networks to your local drive.
The thought of a compromised or hacked social account sends shivers down my spine. If you feel the same way, take the time to back up these services. You’ll be glad you did.