Facebook dataportability at long last

I have to give Facebook some credit, this week they launched the ability to dump your data out of facebook.

First, we’ve built an easy way to quickly download to your computer everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook and all your correspondences with friends: your messages, Wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information.

If you want a copy of the information you’ve put on Facebook for any reason, you can click a link and easily get a copy of all of it in a single download. To protect your information, this feature is only available after confirming your password and answering appropriate security questions. We’ll begin rolling out this feature to people later today, and you’ll find it under your account settings.

Second, we’re launching a new dashboard to give you visibility into how applications use your data to personalize your experience. As you start having more social and personalized experiences across the web, it’s important that you can verify exactly how other sites are using your information to make your experience better.

As this rolls out, in your Facebook privacy settings, you will have a single view of all the applications you’ve authorized and what data they use. You can also see in detail when they last accessed your data. You can change the settings for an application to make less information available to it, or you can even remove it completely.

Its a total dump and although slightly impressive on the surface, other services such as 37signals Basecamp have had the ability to export your data for a long time. Interestingly there doesn’t seem to be a way to import your data, but then again I can’t see that coming anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what happens in this area when Diaspora comes along and gains traction. I’ll actually really like to add the ability to export to twitter right now, so I can see all the tweets mentioning me which were sent to me while I was in hospital.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.