How-To: Move Your Facebook Data Elsewhere

The Blog of Tom Webster

  2010-05-20 03:07:00 PDT

Since deactivating my Facebook account, I’ve come to realize that I really only miss one thing about the service… the constant access to all of my contacts email addresses and phone numbers. The really important ones, I’ve had stored in my phone all along, but I’ve never bothered to make a backup of the one’s that I contact less often. As we all know, doing precise dentistry with a nine-iron is easier than getting data out of Facebook, especially email addresses. This is one of the biggest problems with Facebook, we put all of our data into it, but they leave us with two very important questions unanswered:_ _

1. We are made no guarantees what will be done with our data if we choose to delete our accounts.
2. We can never export data that either, A: We have access to. Or B: That we’ve made ourselves.

Have you ever tried to export a photo album from Facebook? You can’t do it. Well…. you can… If you right click and ‘Save Image As’ on every single picture in that album. Its a pain in the ass to say the least. Third-party developers have created certain applications that Facebook have banned due to “Terms of Service Violations”, meaning, “You are not allowed to remove your data from Facebook”.
The easiest way to extract and move your Facebook contacts to a standard CSV file that any mail service/application can use is to import your Facebook contacts to Yahoo!. You can then export from Yahoo and import wherever you please. Your contact data is now free from Facebook’s clutches and yours to do whatever the hell you want with it.
For photo’s, I used FaceDown, a super- simple, but now banned Facebook Album downloader to pull all of my albums and import them to Google’s Picasa Web. You can also use a program called Fotobounce, but I have only read about this. I have not tried this program myself. The tutorial seems pretty straight-forward and easy, so go for it.

Liberate your data.
Contact Export How-To (Via Digital Inspiration):
Photo Export How-To (Via Digital Inspiration):

This all said, Facebook has admitted that their privacy models have become a bit too complex and that they will soon be implementing simpler (and hopefully better) privacy controls. So we’ll see… I may end up coming back to Facebook if things work out for the best.