Facebook Lets Users Download Their Data: Why It's a Big Deal

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For once, Facebook is making a change practically everyone can get behind. At today's press conference, Facebook executives unveiled a number of new features, an important one being the ability to "Download Your Data." As explained in the following video, users may now download their entire Facebook profile, including wall posts, messages and photos. Here's the reaction from tech bloggers after the jump:

How great is that? This is a big move for Facebook in direction of data portability. For all Facebook users, this is a liberating day: your data is now completely free. The product is designed for “normal people,” not “developers.” Facebook is also working to make the process as secure as possible. This will prevent user abuse that could be potentially very damaging. To download all of someone else’s data could be rather embarrassing, obviously.

  • This Will Appease Users, writes Larry Dignan at ZDNet: "The move is an interesting one. For starters, Facebook’s move will be well received. Folks may not actually take their information away from Facebook, but they will certainly appreciate the option. By opening up data portability, Facebook is more likely to keep people in the fold. Just because a door is open doesn’t mean you’ll leave."

  • Demonstrates Facebook's Confidence In Itself, writes Kim-Mai  Cutler at Inside Facebook: "The company is addressing a long-held criticism of its control over the social graph. While the company let third-party developers access user data temporarily, it stopped short of letting users create a permanent copy of their information. The risk was that users could take their information and potentially migrate to another service. Perhaps now the company feels that its market power is significant enough that such a product no longer threatens its dominance and is in the interest of its users."

  • Facebook Is Aping Google, writes Omar El Akkad at The Globe and Mail: "With the new service, Facebook is following in the footsteps of other technology companies, such as Google. Big tech sites often allow users to download and migrate their data to other services to counter criticism of anticompetitive behaviour – in essence, users can always take their data and go somewhere else, and so are not locked in to one service.

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