Deleting Facebook? Do this first

Facebook's data collection methods have repeatedly come under fire, but the company's latest scandal is leading many to delete their Facebook accounts.

There's been a global outcry after it was revealed the personal information of up to 50 million Facebook users was sold to political analysis company Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of meddling in elections across the world.

Brian Acton, co-founder of messaging app WhatsApp, said on Twitter it was time for people to delete their Facebook accounts, using the hashtag #DeleteFacebook.

However, the archive of messages, photos, and status updates shared via the app over the years is holding some people back from wanting to get rid of their account completely.

Luckily, a silver lining to Facebook's mass collection of data is that there is an easy way to download all this information.

  • Login to your Facebook account.
  • Click the small arrow on the right of the top menu bar.
  • Go to settings.
  • At the bottom of 'General Account Settings', click 'Download a copy of your Facebook data'.
  • Click the green 'Download Archive' button.
  • Enter your password.
  • A zip file will begin to download to your computer.

Once downloaded, you will be able to open all your messages, photos, and status updates.

You'll also be able to see a list of the topics you've shown interest in and ads you've clicked on.

To illustrate just how much data Facebook keeps on you, The Project host Kanoa Lloyd downloaded all of Jesse Mulligan's and read it back to him live on air last week.

"This stack here shows me so much stuff and this is the kind of stuff that could potentially be getting shopped out to companies like Cambridge Analytica," she said.

Among some of the things she discovered was the day Jesse signed up to the site, the name of his father and the number of messages he had sent.

The message was to Jesse's flatmate in London, and he remarked it was really creepy that Lloyd was able to find that out so easily.

"I feel creeped out knowing this, I don't need to know this stuff and I definitely wouldn't want a company like Cambridge Analytica knowing this stuff about me either," she said.

Lloyd even managed to find the contents of his first ever Facebook message, but he wouldn't let her read it out on the show.


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