With all the press about Cambridge Analytica and Facebook and the amount of data that is being captured, I figured I’d take a look into what was captured of mine. I know that there are some other, similar articles that have been done on this topic, but I was curious what I’d find since I disable some of the default data settings.
So here go! My archive came in at 5.25 GB. I started using Facebook back in the beginning of 2007, so that’s a little more than 11 years of data.
After extracting, and opening up the index file, I’m greeted with my profile information. On there they have every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads (makes sense, since I share the login), my phone numbers, previous email addresses, the things I like, and all relationships. Including my one-day april fool’s day relationship, whoops! One bit that stood out was that it listed what movies I’ve seen. It’s a very short list, so I’m thinking that it’s stuff that it has parsed from checkins.
Next down on the Index is “Contact Info”. I had thought that that would be all my contact info, but it turns out that that is my PHONE’S contact list. There’s a lot of names on here that I would only have had on my cell phone, so I guess there was a sync at some point? The other surprise here is that it seems to have captured EVERY number associated with them. So for my friends who constantly changed numbers (you know who you are!), there’s 10 different numbers linked.
The link after that takes me to timeline. This is a 25 MB HTML file that took a few minutes to fully load up. Probably due to it listing out every single Facebook activity taken. This includes every song I’ve played on Spotify since the mid 2012, every status update, every wall post, and so on. Interestingly, it’s just text. No images are included. Neither are any comments or liked. However, stuff other people posted on my wall is there. Go figure.
Following that we’ve got “Photos”. This has every album I’ve ever posted, including “wall photos”. These include comments, but no likes. It also includes limited metadata on the photos. No major surprises here, though one could count the raw face recognition data of me as being somewhat interesting.
Next up we’ve got videos. Same as the photos, just with videos. I have posted very few videos on Facebook. Per this, my last one was 2014. There are videos back to 2009. So far, it seems like everything is retained forever on Facebook.
Going down the list, the next one is “Friends”. This is a ordered list of all my current facebook friends and when we became friends. Further down there are friends that I’ve requested (but they never accepted), friends that have requested me (that I’ve ignored), friends that I rejected, and friends that I’ve removed (and the dates I removed them). So that’s interesting from a historical perspective.
We then have “Messages”, and wow, do they ever! Looks like every message that I’ve ever sent or received. Some interesting things here though. First, message threads that I’ve deleted are not here. Secondly, friends who have deleted their account show up as “Facebook User” with no name attached. Most shared images are included, but not all. For me, it seems like anything older than 2015/2016 are just blank. Just to check if something was missed, I scrolled back through old conversations on Facebook itself, and they weren’t there either. Go figure. But all the text is there (and the stickers!)
Oddly, there is an entire section for “Pokes”, which has the current friends who have poked me and the streaks. Kinda pointless in my opinion, but hey, gotta love completeness.
After that, we’ve got “Events”. It’s a list of every event I’ve been invited to on Facebook, going back to 2008, complete with my response. For me, mainly ignored or declined.
The Security page is interesting. It’s a list of programs that have access to my Facebook, ranging from phones, phone applications, Spotify, and so on. It also has changes to account, like changes to passwords, security settings, and profile pictures. These seem to go back to day one.
There’s then a page for “Ads”. This has all the ad topics that Facebook thinks I’m interesting in. Some definite oddities though. There’s a city where a friend of mine lives that I’ve never been to, some movie genres I’ve never cared for, and a couple bands that annoy me. Go figure. There’s also a a list of “Advertisers with your contact info”. Nice having that info, but a little alarming.
Next to last, we’ve got “Places Created”. I’ve got 2 places that I created on Facebook back in 2010. Nothing really interesting here.
Finally, we’ve got applications. This is just a list of the applications that I’ve got installed on Facebook. No surprises here.
So, there’s a lot of stuff here. I don’t see some of the stuff that I’ve seen reported elsewhere. I’m guessing this is due to my more selective security settings. I’ll probably tighten my settings a little bit more. Honestly, a little disappointed that some of my older Messaging images are gone, but oh well.