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We all know, or should do, that Facebook keeps a track of our activity which allows it to show you the most approprate adverts. You can scroll back through your own posts, view photos and videos you have posted. Facbook users experience the memories on this day from years before so it is clear all this data is held on Facebook servers.

But is that it and what does it all add up to?

Qlocal director Steve Ashcroft requested a download of his facebook data and a couple of days later it was there ready to be downloaded to his computer.

Steve was shocked by the amount of data held. Even though he has over 3,000 friends and is very active in some Airedale Terrier dog groups including one he runs himself he didn't expect the download to be a set of compressed files totalling over 13gb.

Uncompressed this amounted to 7.8 tb (yes terabyte, one tb = 1,000 gigabytes), comprising 31,967 files held in 2,455 folders.

The downloaded data is split into main content folders as shown here.

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This had to be investigated further.

The big one would surely be "posts" and it was, accounting for 6.2 tb which was almost 80% of the data held. All the media, photos and videos are held here and similarly to a smartphone usually accounts for most of the storage. Everything goes back to the very first day you joined Facebook.
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The next largest area was "messages" which similarly to posts held all media exchanged. This in Steves case was 1.6 tb of data, which with posts was nearly 100% of data stored.
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Messages are put into separate folders for each invididual person or group, and like posts, literally every message you have been involved in, even if the other person barred you or even came off Facebook.

"Friends" again goes back to day one and details the date and times people became friends.
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"comments and reactions" details all your likes and comments to other peoples posts as opposed to your own posts, and again, all of them. In Steve's case his first reaction and like was to his daughter who was living in Australia in 2006 and had posted some New Years eve pictures in Sydney which were posted to Facebook and why he first joined the socail media platform.

A lot of the other folders were empty like "campus" but there is one very intesting one that needed more investigation and that was "location".

If you have location allowed for Facebook then you very much have another tracker held in your data as well as what is held by your smartphone.

Facebook will identify your prime location.
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But not only that it gives a detailed breakdown of any given day. In Steve's case he wondered at first - did he really go to Scotland that day in 2019 - yes it was a for a funeral.
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Steve commented about how he felt about his own data held on Facebook

At first I was shocked. In the 15 years I have been on Facebook it is like reading my own life story. I was particularly shocked by the level of detail in the location data.
During the period I have been on Facebook I have been involved in four different personal relationships and some of the stored data, especially messages are best ignored to say the least.
I do wonder if the police can get access to a suspects data? If I was accused of something somewhere at a specific time I think there would be a good chance of itemising my activity and location from Facebook.
The mention about the police is very interested and could certainly help investigations in a contested case. The same could be said if a parent was worried about a childs activity.

We will leave the last word to Steve:

Don't do a download unless you have a real need. I've since deleted my downloaded data.