Find out what Facebook knows about you

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 18, 2015
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Facebook

Most Facebook users know that Facebook knows a lot about them but most do not know what this includes.

Some information are obvious; the things you post online or information that you have added to your profile.

Others, like interests, IP addresses, facial recognition data or photo metadata may not be as obvious or not accessible on the site at all.

If you want to find out what Facebook knows about you, you can request a copy of your data from Facebook to analyze it on your local computer.

While that does not include everything, it includes a lot that you may find interesting.

Download your personal Facebook archive

download your information

The first thing you need to do is request that Facebook generates a personal archive for you:

  1. Log in to Facebook if you have not already.
  2. Click on the down arrow icon in the top right corner and select settings from the context menu.
  3. Under General, click on "download a copy of your Facebook data".
  4. Click on Download Archive on the next page and enter your password for verification.

Facebook generates the archive in the background. Depending on how much you have posted and uploaded to the site and interacted with others it may take a while.

You receive an email on completion that links to a page that you can download the archive from. Before you can do that, you need to enter your account password once more.

Analyze the archive

Extract the contents of the zip archive to your local system and load the index.htm file afterwards in a web browser.

facebook local archive

This is a basic HTML file that requires no Internet connection. You find pages listed on the left and the information that the selected page offers on the right.

Here are a couple of entries that you may find interesting:

  1. Ads Topic and History - This page highlights your interests -- based on likes -- and also your ad history which lists ads that you clicked on.
  2. Security - Lists a comprehensive log of account sessions and activity. For each session, date and time, IP address, browser and cookie are listed. In addition, all IP addresses used to log in to Facebook are listed on the page as well as a list. You find administrative records and cookie information on that page as well
  3. Messages - All messages that you have received on Facebook or sent to others.
  4. Friends - A list of all of your Facebook friends, removed friends, friend requests, followers and peer groups (only names).
  5. Photos and videos - all media that you have uploaded to Facebook including private ones and metadata.
  6. Contact Info - Includes your address, emails that you have linked to the account, phone numbers, your address book and screen name.
  7. Religious and political views, spoken languages, shares and posts.

As you can see, not all information listed above are accessible directly on Facebook. The archive is the only way to gain access to the data.

While it is interesting in itself, it may help you uncover security issues on Facebook. Since all IP addresses, account sessions and cookies are listed, you may use it to identify unauthorized access to your Facebook account.

Update: You may use this browser extension for Google Chrome instead to display the information Facebook has stored on you.

Find out what Facebook knows about you
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Find out what Facebook knows about you
You can download a copy of your Facebook data from the social networking site to find out what Facebook knows about you.
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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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