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Users' entire Facebook history available for download in single file, causes mixed reactions

Contributing Reporter

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 00:12

A new feature on Facebook that allows users to download all their online activity into a single file has stirred mixed reactions among the campus community at Sam Houston State University.


When a user downloads the file, it contains everything the Facebook user has ever done and more. It contains the photos and videos they’ve shared on Facebook, their wall posts, messages, chat conversations, their friends’ names, and even some of their friends’ email addresses (only for friends who’ve allowed this in their account settings).


Several students were shocked to find out about the new feature  felt uneasy because of the potential of other people to get a hold of their information.


“I think that’s a little creepy”, Jacquelyn Vasquez, a junior student, said.


Other students felt the new feature was pointless.


“I just feel that it’s just an unnecessary thing to have really”, said Michael Kemble, a senior student and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity member said when asked about the usefulness of the new feature.


However, the reaction was not limited to just the students. Faculty members on campus also felt the feature served as a warning to Facebook users.

Rebecca Cobo, the Costume Shop Supervisor of SHSU’s Dance Department, felt that the feature was extremely private for something of little use and that it could hurt confidentiality among users.


“I think everyone should be concerned about their privacy in general with regards to Facebook,” she said. “People tend to post things in the heat of the moment that they will regret later. It’s dangerous because everyone can see it; and it’s very painful and difficult to erase. It’s like getting a tattoo.”


For those who are concerned about the security of others, the archive does not contain friends’ photos, their status updates, other people’s personal info, and the comments users made on others’ posts.


The “Download you information” feature is not new. In fact, it has been available for eight years.


According to Jason Kincaid of Techcrunch.com, it’s considered “ancient by Facebook standards, launching back in September 2004 when the site was still restricted to college students”. It’s still available for millions of users to download today.


To download an archive, click on the blue link displayed as “Download a copy” under Account Settings. After following the instructions, the user will eventually receive an archive of their Facebook history as a “.zip” folder in their hard drive.

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