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How to get your captured data from Google and Facebook – Find out what we discovered!.

Overview of Internet Platforms and your data – Why now?

Several events are coming together now that demand an examination of our data collection and distribution of our on-line experiences from numerous platforms and providers.

First, the European Union Global Data Protection Act (GDPR) forces almost all Internet platforms and service provides to retool and handle these very strict data requirements since most platforms (Facebook, Google, twitter, etc) are global in scope.  Although the GDPR options may not have been planned for US customers immediately, they might quickly be demanded by US customers once they are appreciated by all of the EU citizens.

(Check out Internet Software Sciences previous article on the GDPR for more information).

Secondly, these huge global platforms of Facebook and Google have now been shown they provide basically un checked data collection and control of our lives in many ways.   To give these platforms some slack,  I don’t think any of these huge global platforms ever forecast the scenarios and scope by which they control our lives and commerce.   These platforms now define the lens by which we view the world, and more importantly for Internet Software Sciences, these platforms define how most businesses  MUST conduct business.  You learn to live to play by Google rules if you want to stay in business today!

How to Download your facebook data

Now Facebook users have a new option to download and view your own complete data stored by Facebook.

To access this option, simply log into Facebook, click on far right top menu options and select Settings.

At the very bottom of the General Account Settings page, you will see a link to Download a copy of your facebook data.

Reviewing your Facebook data

Your data will be delivered to you in a zip file which you need to unload to a folder on your computer.  Once unzipped, you will view and access your data from the browser by locally viewing the index.htm file which links to many other HTML pages, images, messages, etc that have been downloaded and unzipped.  Simply clicking on the Profile, Contact Info, Timeline, Photos, etc will go to pages with their collected info.

Analyzing the data dump

It’s interesting to see what data they have gathered and if you are a big Facebook user you will have a lot of data.

One interesting piece of data is the Facial Recognition Data page which is available as a link at the bottom of the photos page.  A quick search on the term “Facebook Facial Recognition Data” will bring up some interesting articles!

It still seems like there would be some more data that Facebook is storing  that was not collected on users or data we shared, but internally FB analyzed all of our messages, posts and data and created other records.  Maybe this will be discovered later and available for download?

How to Download or View your Google captured data

This might be large project so plan for some time and disk space!

To download your collected data, begin by going to

A better way to see what Google has collected and control it is to use their on-line tool available from your Google dashboard.

Viewing (rather than downloading) your Google collected data

First, log into Google with Gmail or some Google Service.  From your Google dashboard, you will see an option called My Activity.   Click on GO TO MY ACTIVITY.

From there you can use various web interfaces and search tools to find what data Google is saving on you based primarily on the date you used the service.

Depending upon how many Google services you are using daily, they are collecting EVERY search, and location tracking (if you have enabled and running a Google mapping service that is tracking) and much more.    Every page, picture, video you viewed, visited.. it’s all there!

All  throughout the numerous pages and interfaces that shows every webpage, search, Youtube videos you watched and places, routes you drove with your car and other Google Services used over the years, Google will show the symbol with the lock and the message “Only you can see this data.  Google protects your privacy and security”.

Google has done a good job protecting and securing my data compared to other companies, but my personal concern is the fact that they have stored it in the first place, and one company has it all!  Are they storing it for my interest or Google’s best interest?  Do I need to re-discover in 2018 that I watched a youtube cat video on July 9, 2012, 4 times?  Maybe not!

Within a few short months,  with pressure from GDPR and a better world wide understanding of data collection by companies, we can now begin to gain some transparency with platforms and their data collections.  Hopefully the tools listed here will give you options to view, decide and optionally delete data to fit your own personal data privacy concerns.

We always welcome your input on our articles and please share them with your co-workers and peers.

Scott Vanderlip
President Internet Software Sciences