Backup Facebook

A few months ago, I wrote about my sister losing access to her Facebook page. Besides the connections with her friends, she also lost all the posts and photos she’d put up on Facebook over the last 12 years. She was devastated.

Two Factor Authentication (2FA) and a more skeptical attitude towards unexpected messages containing links would have saved her a lot of grief. The other thing that would have helped is backing up her account.

Facebook allows you to back up your entire account, including photos, shopping, saved videos, you name it and including your Instagram account. What it doesn’t back up are other people’s posts where you’re tagged. Once you’ve backed up to your local computer, you will have a local HTML web page that you can open that contains links to all the different pieces of information held in your account.

Depending on how prolific of a poster you are the downloaded ZIP (archive) file could be fairly large (mine after 12 years on Facebook was 36Mb) so make sure you have adequate disk space first.

To back up your account:

1. Click on your profile picture in the top right, then click Settings and privacy.
2. Click Settings.
3. Click Accounts Center, then click Your information and permissions.
4. Click Download your information.
5. Click Request a download.
6. Select the profiles you’d like to download information from.
7. Click Next.
8. Select the information you want to download.
9. Once you’ve selected the information you want to download, choose your file options:
  • The date range
  • The notification email
  • The format of your download request.
  • The quality of photos, videos and other media.
After you’ve submitted, it’ll show pending until the archive is created. You’ll then have four days to download the file. It took about 30 minutes to create mine.

To download go back to Settings -> Account Centre -> Your Information and Permissions -> Download your information.

Go to Available downloads and click Download. Facebook will require you to enter your password. Then the download will start.

To access the content you’ll have to expand the ZIP archive first.