Facebook join SocialSafe by promoting data portability

Yesterday Facebook announced a new feature which allows users to download the data they have in Facebook to their computers – sound familiar? For too long Facebook has been a walled garden where you can put your data in, but couldn’t get it out without using a tool like SocialSafe, so we heartily welcome Facebook’s conversion to the data portability camp.

SocialSafe is all about data portability and reuse and this has been our core mission since our launch in June 2009. We believe that if you create content or enhance your content using a service, program or tool that you should be able to reuse it elsewhere. For example, many of us have spent time tagging friends in photographs – wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use this information elsewhere and not just be restricted to using Facebook forever to see this information (and of course Facebook data is easily lost as friends move on, change accounts, etc). At SocialSafe we capture this information and allow you to see and reuse it.

As we develop SocialSafe the reuse aspect of your social data will increase dramatically. In just a few days we will release SocialSafe v2 which gives you a full digital diary view of all your Facebook data – want to know what you did this time last year? – easy just jump to that date in the calendar. No spending 20 minutes going next page, and the next page ad infinitum to access that data. This is what data reuse is about – because you have your data on your PC/Mac with SocialSafe we can add extra services and integration that are not part of the core Facebook mission. Another example with V2 is a search capability that looks across all of your Facebook data and an export capability to save your photos to any location.

As we proceed on from V2 we will be adding Twitter and other social networks to the stream you can download, view and reuse within SocialSafe – allowing you to get your hands around all of your social interactions in one place, enabling you to have the full picture and providing open data portability.

Not everyone needs all of SocialSafe’s current and future features, just as not everyone finds Facebook the answer to their social networking needs. A variety of solutions is always better than just one and therefore to have Facebook providing a basic download feature so everyone has access to their Facebook data is a significant step forward to achieving greater data portability across all services.


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  2. Hi. Really, is there any point in saving data which I have posted myself? If I am so keen to save data, I’d rather save it before posting. I think that greater value lies in saving data posted by friends and organizations. People and organizations put up rich information on Facebook. That kind of data should be saved. People anyways save important data either by copy paste in Word, or by pasting links to Evernote. You’ve mentioned something about FB not allowing this? There are no such terms in their useage of their APIs. Can you point out to a specific clause in their latest terms?

    1. Well, as one of those “people” you mention who put up rich information on facebook, as one of those people who have thousands of private letters and memoirs on facebook, and as one who would like to be able to have, use and present my data outside of facebook too, I for one am VERY relieved that download options are finally starting to appear.

      I wish they were much more encompassing in fact. I would like to have the ability to save the discussions I’ve taken part in too. Like have a program go through the “commented on”-entries on my wall and save those things. So I can look them up later, easily, no matter what happens, and use things we found or wrote there for other purposes too.

      Copy-pasting doesn’t cut it. That’s like posting to two facebooks, and then somebody comments and you have to copy-paste again. Incredibly tedious and cumbersome, time consuming and messy. Nobody with a lot of writing hours on facebook does that (unless they are suffering from a life wrecking case of obsessive compulsive disorder).

      And I would like to have the ability to save friends profiles, so I can remember them and see what I used to see, whenever their profiles – for whatever reason – become inaccessible to me. I believe this is part of what you ask for “instead”, and I agree with the request, just not the “instead”-part.

      Trust me, I’ve tried to save stuff like that manually, and that is DEFINATELY not an easy option. Computers can do this easily. They’re made for it.

      I don’t care if it takes 12 hours of running in the background, and ends up consuming a gigabyte of harddrive space. I want the raw data that _I_ and my friends wrote on facebook. Facebook is just a host, and as one who was just locked out after someone made a bogus report of me in a discussion forum there, I can say that facebook is sadly not at all a reliable host.

      So thanks a million to SocialSafe. A program like this is a lifesaver, and it’s just a matter of time before more people realize it.

      I’m hoping that in the future you will add the three big things that seem to be missing from both your app and facebook’s download option:

      1. The ability to save your comments and what you commented on (full “expansion” of your wall).

      2. The ability to save friends profiles (as they appear to you of course).

      3. The ability to handily save images you are tagged in (not just the ones you put up).

      1. Hi Mashlash, many thanks for your comments, much appreciated. Just to let you know that SocialSafe currently does backup photos you’ve been tagged in. Once downloaded you can export the album to anywhere you like via the SocialSafe File View interface.

        Regards the other two requirements; there are privacy issues regarding the pulling down of other people’s content where they haven’t explicitly shared it with you (tagged you in it or commented on something of yours). There’s a lot of fluidity within Facebook’s privacy settings at the moment so this may change. We are working hard to backup everything allowed through their APIs.

        We’re close to releasing the next SocialSafe update which brings Twitter backup into SocialSafe.

        It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on our UserVoice feature forum where you can suggest ideas and vote on others.

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