Facebook is making some changes to its Transfer Your Information tool, in order to make it easier for users to download the info that Facebook has stored on them, and transfer it to other platforms if they so desire.

As explained by Facebook:

To provide people with choice and control over their data, we’ve spent the last few months rebuilding our data portability tool from the ground up. These updates include user experience improvements, two new destinations: Photobucket and Google Calendar, and one new data type: Facebook Events.”

Facebook Transfer My Data tool

As you can see here, Facebook’s new and improved Transfer Your Information tool includes an improved UI, making it easier to see all of your data transfer options, while it’s also added dedicated date range tools and other options to control your data transfers.

Facebook has also provided this one-pager outlining the updated process:

Facebook Transfer My Data tool

The new options will make it easier to manage your Facebook data, and take it with you if you choose, which is the latest step in Facebook’s ongoing development of tools to meet evolving user data requirements.

Facebook launched the first stage of its data portability tools in December 2019, with an option to transfer your Facebook photos and videos over to Google Photos for storage and re-use. Facebook then expanded this to include Dropbox and Koofr as export options as well, before then further extending its data transfer options to include Facebook posts and notes too, with users now able to send their text-based data to Google Docs, Blogger and/or WordPress, as of April this year.

The options are part of Facebook’s broader data portability push, which it’s been seeking industry agreement on to broaden such capacity, and improve data security, while also calling for a more uniform policy approach to such throughout the industry.

Facebook’s view, in this respect, is that digital platforms should provide access to user data, but there needs to be clearer parameters around what data, exactly, it needs to make available, and how that can be safely transferred between platforms.

Back in 2019, Facebook published a whitepaper which highlighted the various challenges of data portability, and called on regulators to establish clearer rules around such, in order to better clarify an industry-standard approach to meet increasing user data requirements.

As per Facebook:

Although some laws, such as the GDPR and CCPA, already guarantee the right to portability, we believe companies and people would benefit from additional guidance about what it means to put those rules into practice.” 

That remains an ongoing debate, but with the broader push for increased data privacy and security, it makes sense for there to be an industry-standard around such sharing, and what type of information each platform needs to make accessible, in order to meet individual privacy requirements.

That would make it easier for users to switch between platforms, and understand what data each platform stores on them, while also giving them the freedom to hold onto their digital information and uploads, and not be beholden to a specific app or company.

In this respect, Facebook is actually leading the way – and that will likely put increased pressure on other companies to institute similar portability processes to help maximize freedom of digital movement, and transparency over data usage.