You had questions about your Facebook data. I have answers

I recently wrote about downloading 14 y...

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 4:04 PM
Updated: Mar 27, 2018 4:04 PM

I recently wrote about downloading 14 years of my Facebook data, where I uncovered a large collection of personal information about my life that the company has held onto over the years.

I fell down that rabbit hole on Friday, days after news broke that the data firm Cambridge Analytica misused information from 50 million Facebook users.

CNN readers had a lot of questions about my experience. Here they are, answered.

How do I download my data?

The tool you use to download a copy of your Facebook data isn't very obvious at first.

You need to log onto Facebook and go to the "Settings" page. On desktop, click on the down arrow on the top corner of the screen. On the "General" section, select the option to "download a copy of your Facebook data." I didn't see the option on mobile; only on desktop.

Facebook will then email the data to you. It took about 10 minutes to download the folder, but it can take longer depending on the size of the file.

Inside, the data is segmented. The easiest way to view it is via the "html" folder.

My data didn't include phone numbers for relatives who are not on Facebook - but you said the website collected your grandmother's number. Why is that?

At some point, Facebook asked me to grant it access to my phone contacts. I did and forgot about it. Among those numbers was my late grandmother's landline.

What I didn't realize - and you may not have realized this, either - is that the Facebook-owned chat app Messenger continuously syncs phone contacts unless you proactively turn it off.

Here's how you can turn it off: Tap your profile picture in the top left corner of your Messenger app. Then tap People and Sync Contacts. It will take you to your app settings, where you'll need to toggle it off.

I also deleted my "invite history," which includes the contacts that I allowed Messenger to upload from my phone. Anyone should be able to view their invite history data by clicking here.

It's not clear whether following these steps completely removes my contacts from Facebook's server. I've reached out to Facebook, but they have not yet responded.

Why is Facebook logging calls and texts?

Some Android users who reviewed their data noticed that Facebook had collected information about call history, including who they called and how long they spoke. Ars Technica reported the issue over the weekend.

On Sunday, Facebook published a blog post that said it only collects that data because users "expressly agreed" to share it when installing Messenger or Facebook Lite, an Android version of Facebook built for emerging markets that doesn't require as much data or as strong an internet connection.

"This feature does not collect the content of your calls or text messages. Your information is securely stored and we do not sell this information to third parties," the company wrote in the blog post. "You are always in control of the information you share with Facebook."

Does Facebook know more about me than other platforms?

The short answer is not necessarily. Google, for example, collects location details, your search history and a lot more.

Google is pretty transparent about what it collects, and makes that known on its privacy page. But some say that managing data that Google collects can be challenging.

Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, tweeted that it took her "about three tries to completely turn off Google location tracking."

Tufekci researches technology, society, and privacy and surveillance. "If I can't manage this, who is supposed to?" she asked.

If you didn't go to Harvard University, how were you on Facebook in 2004?

First of all, I went to the University of Virginia. Thank you very much. Yes, Facebook started at Harvard University. But it rolled out the service to a number of other universities the same year, including my alma mater.

In 2005, Facebook opened up the platform to high schools. In 2006, it became available to anyone with an email address.

What else should I know?

For more on how to (mostly) stop Facebook from sharing your data with other businesses, my colleague wrote a story about the process last week.

Have more questions about your Facebook data? Email me at sara.obrien@cnn.com.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 148387

Reported Deaths: 3769
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9874101
Hinds9821198
Harrison6982110
Jackson6218119
Rankin5417102
Lee498495
Madison4711106
Forrest375086
Jones352488
Lauderdale3412145
Lafayette319749
Washington3153107
Lamar286349
Oktibbeha243562
Bolivar240884
Lowndes232864
Neshoba2189118
Panola218849
Marshall211950
Leflore203490
Pontotoc199128
Monroe196077
Sunflower191055
Lincoln187865
Warren174157
Tate166951
Union165325
Pike160958
Copiah160440
Yazoo152939
Scott151829
Itawamba151134
Coahoma149543
Pearl River149467
Alcorn148228
Simpson146353
Prentiss143730
Adams139250
Grenada138845
Leake133243
Holmes127861
Tippah123730
George123524
Covington120938
Winston120024
Hancock117639
Wayne116923
Marion114846
Attala111234
Tishomingo108742
Chickasaw106932
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96727
Clay89927
Clarke89153
Jasper81722
Walthall76028
Stone75214
Calhoun73713
Montgomery72825
Carroll71415
Lawrence70714
Yalobusha70527
Smith70316
Noxubee70017
Perry65826
Tunica60219
Greene59722
Claiborne57916
Jefferson Davis56017
Humphreys53119
Amite52714
Benton49017
Quitman4846
Webster42314
Kemper42118
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34711
Franklin3345
Choctaw3157
Sharkey30817
Issaquena1144
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 241957

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31809500
Mobile19651361
Madison12964148
Tuscaloosa12946154
Montgomery12263236
Shelby1016177
Baldwin857698
Lee771866
Morgan648050
Calhoun6215119
Etowah618266
Marshall618255
Houston522438
DeKalb480436
Cullman433442
Limestone418645
St. Clair413655
Elmore403764
Lauderdale396754
Walker3620111
Talladega347954
Jackson311723
Colbert306042
Blount287940
Autauga270442
Franklin250233
Coffee242015
Dale231754
Dallas225232
Russell22123
Chilton220638
Covington218034
Escambia197931
Chambers176450
Tallapoosa175491
Pike158114
Clarke157619
Marion137136
Winston131123
Lawrence126336
Pickens121618
Geneva12108
Marengo120224
Barbour117010
Bibb117017
Butler115341
Randolph101921
Cherokee101024
Hale96031
Clay91024
Washington90719
Fayette89316
Henry8526
Lowndes79429
Monroe78311
Cleburne76914
Macon73022
Crenshaw70930
Bullock69419
Conecuh68314
Perry6836
Lamar6678
Wilcox63118
Sumter57522
Greene42318
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
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