I was reading Olivier’s blog post urging us to request our data from Facebook backed up by European data protection law and started to craft my comment:

Olivier, I understand where you and the source article writer are coming from. Law is law even for the new online behemoths.


I don’t believe though that sending request letters to Facebook and acting like a shadow boxer will change anything. How about trying to persuade them with friendlier approach? Instead of trying to get a (pretty much useless) bunch of PDF pages, what about trying to get FB (and others) improving their export functionalities? The ones which give us our data in format whereby some clever coders in new startups can create corresponding import functionalities to visualise and utilise the data.


In fact FB already has such a functionality. They call it download and it works quite nicely…

But prior to posting my comment I started to think about all the data which is NOT in the downloaded XML file. I browsed through the site Europe versus Facebook and got interested in the datamodels, requests, those PDF’s and everything. The debate, initiated by some Austrian students, is really heating up and the initiative getting more public – so far mainly in german speaking parts of our continent (no wonder…)

Interesting to see what happens. Facebook will not withdraw from Europe nor re-work their approach, but if the debate moves the behemoth(s) at least slightly towards transparency, better export functionality and control over deletions, I am ready to like, +1 and (heart) the outcomes.



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