Give Me My Data is a Facebook application that helps users export their data out of Facebook for reuse in visualizations, archives, or any possible method of digital storytelling. Data can be exported in common formats like CSV, XML, and JSON as well as customized network graph formats.
According to Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
"You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."
Give Me My Data helps you to exercise this right by presenting your information in easy to use formats.
You can copy and paste information from Give Me My Data into any text editor. Here is a list of editors for Macintosh and Windows platforms:
After you have copied and pasted your information into an editor you can do a number of things depending on the format you chose. All data formats allow you to examine the text and copy and paste the exact information you are trying to retrieve from Facebook.
You can also save the text with a new extension to be able to open the file in other applications. For example, to view your CSV data just save the plain text file with the .csv extension and open it in any spreadsheet software like Numbers (Mac), Microsoft Excel (Win) or OpenOffice, which is free and works on all operating systems.
XML is a popular format for archiving and presenting data with other software. There are many free XML viewers available. For example you can view XML files with the Firefox web browser. Also, check out a list of Visualization Options for CSV and XML data on the ManyEyes website.
While clearly utilitarian, this project intervenes into online user experiences, provoking users to take a critical look at their interactions within social networking websites. It suggests data is tangible and challenges users to think about ways in which their information is used for purposes outside of their control by government or corporate entities.
Give Me My Data is designed only to export a copy of your information from Facebook to allow you to access and manipulate your data yourself. Putting it back into Facebook is unfortunately a manual process.link to this
In order for Give Me My Data to work you need to give it permission to access your information. Click "Allow" when you encounter this screen to start reclaiming your data. Give Me My Data only requests read access and will not write to your profile without your permission.
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The primary goal in creating Give Me My Data is to give users agency over their data by allowing them to export and manipulate it regardless (and in spite if you like) of the interfaces we are presented.link to this
Give Me my Data is only available as a web browser-based application.link to this
A file format is a particular way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file. The file extension indicates the type of file format as well as the application may open the file.
|TXT||plain text||Text that contains no visual formatting.|
|CSV||Comma-Separated Values||Used for the digital storage of tabular data such as a database or spreadsheet. Each line in the CSV file corresponds to a row in the table. CSV files can be opened in any spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel or Apple Numbers.|
|XML||Extensible Markup Language||A plain text markup language for storing and transporting data.|
|DOT||Graphviz DOT Language||A plain text graph description language for use with Graphviz.|
|SQL||Structured Query Language||A database computer language designed for managing data in relational database management systems.|
|MM||FreeMind||An XML-based language used by FreeMind mind mapping software.|
|PY||NodeBox||A Python IDE for creating visualizations.|
Give Me My Data respects your privacy and therefore does not save any information about you or your friends in any form. In addition to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, required for anyone who uses Facebook, applications and developers are bound by the Facebook Developer Principles & Policies
I used Give Me My Data when I joined the Quit Facebook Day on May 31 2010!
—Geert Lovink, Associate Professor of New Media at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Founding Director, Institute of Network Cultures
Facebook App Brings Back Data
by Riva Richmond, New York Times, May 1, 2010
Give Me My Data Helps Refill Blanked Facebook Profiles
by Curt Hopkins, ReadWriteWeb, May 2, 2010
Two Facebook Apps To Help You Fight Back Against Facebook
by Chris Walters, The Consumerist, May 4, 2010
Facebook’s Disconnect: Open Doors, Closed Exits
by Rohit Khare, TechCrunch, May 7, 2010
3D movies and extracting Facebook data
by Kate Russell, BBC News, Friday, June 25th, 2010
The following images were created with data retrieved by Give Me My Data. I'm making high resolution versions available for editorial purposes only. Please contact me if you use these.
During the final days of the German Democratic Republic (or GDR, a.k.a. "East Germany") it became evident that their Ministry for State Security (more popularly known as the "Stasi") was destroying incriminating evidence from its 40-year history of domestic and international surveillance. These documents, which the Stasi was attempting to destroy using shredding machines, as well as by hand when the machines failed, included information gathered through various clandestine methods about lives of citizens of the GDR without their knowledge or consent.
On January 15, 1990, protestors stormed the Stasi headquarters in Berlin in attempt to prevent the destruction of personal records which they felt they should be able to access. The phrase, "Freiheit für meine Akte!" (in English: Freedom for my file!) spray painted on the Stasi guardhouse during this protest embodies a desire by citizens to open this closed world of state surveillance in order to understand the methods of control employed the Stasi
At the height of its operations, the Stasi is believed to have hired, between spies and full- and part-time informants, one in every 6.5 East German citizens to report suspicious activities, almost 2.5 million people.1 At this moment, the ratio of people entering data on Facebook to non-members is one in fourteen for the entire world,2 introducing possibly the most effective surveillance machine in history.
The name and project, "Give Me My Data," is inspired by all such citizen movements which aspire to know what information that government or private organizations gather, store, and use to maintain their powerful positions.
*Image of Ministry for State Security guardhouse by Michael Westdickenberg
Give Me My Data is developed by Owen Mundy.