Facebook is holding a vast amount of information on you. But a little trick will let you see it all.
The site’s data tools allow anyone to head into the site and see everything it has collected — including locations, activity, personal data and everything you’ve ever said to anyone else.
Most of the data saved within the download information is available through other means, like on your own profile. But other parts of it are highly specific and not easily found elsewhere, like full information of every time you logged into Facebook, where and how you did it.
The most obvious way to do that is to head to Facebook’s “Activity Log”, which does exactly what it describes. It shows a chronological list of everything you’ve done on Facebook — down to which posts you’ve liked and anything you’ve searched for.
It’s activated by clicking on the little downward arrow in the corner of any Facebook page, and selecting Activity Log.
But there’s a more intense way: downloading your Facebook data from the special site. That’s done by going to settings and choosing the option to “Download a copy of your Facebook data”.
In there you’ll find just about everything that Facebook will admit to collecting on you, and there’s a lot. The downloaded file will include every computer that’s logged into Facebook, everything it thinks it has learnt about you from your posts and everyone you’ve tried to add as a friend or been added by.
The data will even include every message you’ve ever sent through Facebook chat, according to the company.
Tech companies that make their money from ads, like Facebook and Google, tend to give at least some of that same information back to users if they request it. It’s possible to get an even more detailed rundown of everything you’ve done on Google, for instance, by checking the “My Activity” part of its site.
But it also means that the same data could relatively easily fall into the wrong hands. Anyone who has access to your account can look at your activity and download your information — and then pick through it as they want.