Facebook to reveal more of the data stored about you

The social network is getting ready to let you download an expanded archive so you can view more of the information recorded about what you've been up to.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Facebook is expanding a feature called Download Your Information, which lets you view an archive of all the posts, photos, and other content you've shared over the years.

Now in addition to your own content, the feature will let you peek at other types of information, including previous names you've used, friend requests, and even IP addresses from which you've logged in. Launching today, the expanded Download Your Information archive will roll out gradually to all Facebook users, so you may not see the full scope of data available just yet.

The social network is also promising to add more categories of information to the archive down the road.

To access the Download Your Information archive, log into your Facebook account and select Account Settings from the dropdown arrow next to the Home link. Click on the link to "Download a copy of your Facebook data." The resulting page will tell you what type of data is available to view. Then click on the button to "Start my Archive."

Facebook will take a while to gather all your data and will inform you by e-mail when that's ready to download and view. You can learn more about Facebook's privacy efforts at its privacy page.

The social network has, of course, faced heavy criticism in the past over its seeming lack of concern about privacy.

Introduced in 2010, the Download Your Information archive was the company's attempt to provide greater transparency over the information it collects about its users. But an audit last year by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner concluded that the company still wasn't doing enough .

Facebook has since promised to make further changes to its privacy policies following the DPC's findings.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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