Wednesday was another double-plus bad day for Facebook, the company that definitely hasn’t burrowed deeply into all Americans’ lives, like a fleet of digital chiggers, nesting with ads and election-swinging invective.
The New York Times dropped a bombshell story that shed light on the extremely troubling ways top Facebook executives Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg responded to the abuse of its platform by Russia and others during the 2016 election. Among the startling revelations were the fact that in October 2017, Facebook hired a veteran GOP political consultancy to secretly spread messages—including rumors about all-purpose right-wing boogeyman George Soros—and that Zuckerberg personally ordered a ban on employees using iPhones after Tim Cook threw shade at Facebook in March. Although the backlash from various organizations has already begun, the true test of the exposé’s impact will be whether Facebook’s user base begins to disintegrate.
You may have noticed friends and coworkers, but probably not your parents, dropping like flies from the platform after, say, the Cambridge Analytica leak, or when Facebook was used to incite violence in Myanmar, or learning that the company maybe uses shadow data for its ads. Or any of the other things. Transparency tends not to reveal anything positive about Facebook, but rather more reasons why it’s not worth keeping the social network in your life just because you have so many pictures on there and occasionally get Facebook invitations to housewarming parties. To that end, here is a guide to downloading your Facebook archives, just in case that’s something you want to do at this particular moment in time.
- Log into Facebook, click the down-triangle icon at top right, and choose Settings.
- On the General Settings page, near the top is the option: “To download your information, go to Your Facebook Information.”
- Click the second option: Download Your Information.
- The page with Your Information offers a date range near the top, so you can go as far back as you’ve used the service. You have the option to deselect any category (Posts, Photos and Videos, Comments, etc) that you may not want to receive.
- Click on Create File and get ready to play the waiting game. What you do once you receive the file is up to you.
Ironically, everybody quitting Facebook at the same time is the exact kind of communal harmony Facebook could only offer in theory.