Facebook’s Tool for Downloading Your Data Might Be Misleading You

Facebook does not have a very good track record when it comes to things like privacy as well as the preservation of certain kinds of user data, with most users feeling like they simply cannot trust the social media platform to do what it is in their best interests. Hence, in order to make it easier for users to trust them and to make it so that they don’t end up losing their userbase to competitors that are starting to take an increasingly tough stance on things like abuse of data collection policies and the like, Facebook created a button that would allow you to download what they said would be all of the information that the platform had obtained about you.

The purpose of this was to try and make it so that users would know which of their data was being used and they could act accordingly. Facebook also gave a lot of ways to control which parts of your data Facebook ends up using, although this is something separate from the button for downloading info because of the fact that the download button was for the purposes of transparency more than anything else all in all.

However, it turns out that things might not be quite as they seem when it comes to the download info feature that Facebook is offering to its users. A lot of people won’t be surprised by this but others would definitely be disappointed at the fact that social media giant would lie to them so blatantly yet again in spite of the constant criticism that the platform ends up experiencing in situations where it is attempting to make the most of the kind of trust its users provide to it.

A UK based charity by the name of Privacy International has released a blog post authored by experts that claims that the information you would get through this download info tool would be incomplete, and would in no way represent an accurate portrayal of what Facebook actually knows about you as well as whether or not this information would manage to set your mind at ease.

One aspect of the information that you would receive from this button, perhaps the most important piece of information out of all of the options that you would otherwise have looked into, has to do with advertising. Basically you are supposed to get a list of the advertisers that have access to your information, what ads they are showing you and why they are showing them as well as what pieces of data regarding your online usage are being utilized in order to customize your ads and make them more in line with your preferences.


According to the research that was conducted by this UK based organization, it turns out that the list you are going to get is going to be lacking a few names. It won’t be complete and 100 percent transparent and it also keeps changing time and time again which means that looking at it once does not mean that you would get to know everything about what advertisers have on you for the rest of your online usage. Instead you’d have to keep checking.

A Facebook's spokesperson informed media outlets that Facebook disagrees with the Privacy International’s claims and would welcome the opportunity to discuss the issues in detail with them. The spokesperson further added that they are offering a variety of tools and features to help users access their Facebook data, and these option are inline with relevant laws, including GDPR.



Read next: Facebook’s Internal Data Shows the Rise of Messaging as a Business Tool [infographic]

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