– Ben Martens


Facebook Data Retention

Many of us end up dumping a lot of information into Facebook. You might want to download that to have a local copy/backup. It turns out this is pretty easy to do. The Facebook help docs have these instructions:

  1. Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings
  2. Click Download a copy of your Facebook data below your General Account Settings
  3. Click Start My Archive

It takes a while to generate your archive. You’ll receive an email when it’s done. Click the link in the email and save that file to your computer.

Now that you’ve got it all backed up, are you sure you want to leave it sitting on the Facebook site? I don’t. Deleting your data from Facebook is a lot harder than backing it up. They don’t provide an easy way to selectively delete data. Thankfully there are some tools to help you out. I like the Facebook Post Manager extension for Chrome. It’s not super fancy or easy to use, but it did the job for me. I wiped out most of my posts, shares and some of the photos from before 2016.

It takes a little while, but I think it’s worthwhile to not have that all sitting around. I’ve been doing the same thing with my email with MailStore for the past couple years. Did you know that until some time in the last year or so, no warrant was needed to read email that you left on the email server for more than six months?

In the big scheme of things, this probably makes no difference. There’s so much data about us out there already, that deleting my old Facebook posts doesn’t matter, but oh well, it makes me feel a little better. Facebook probably still keeps them around on their server but now random internet people can’t view them all.