Faced a host of privacy investigations around the globe and an initial public offering in the next few works, Facebook is trying extra hard to increase transparency and make users happy. The latest effort is an expansion of the social network's "Download Your Data" feature, a three-click process that lets you "Get a copy of what you've shared on Facebook." The site first launched this feature two years ago but only allowed users to get a copy of their list of friends, photos, wall posts, messages, and chat conversations. Now, you'll also get a list of your former usernames and email addresses, all of your friend requests as well as the IP addresses of all the computers you've used to log on to Facebook. It's like a data-rich walk down memory lane.
Most interesting, we think, is that list of friend requests. Didn't you ever wonder what happened to the request you sent to the attractive person you have 47 friends in common with? We recommend downloading a list of those long lost requests and following up—or experiencing that rejection all over again. While you're at it, you could cross reference those friend requests against your history of Facebook log-ins to create a four dimensional map of your history of rejection on Facebook. Sounds painfully fun and it could bea a social media art project.
But let's get serious for a second: Can you track requests from advertisers who wanted to be your friend—or at least mine your data for targeted ads? No, you can't. Facebook lets you download nine categories of information, but it's all very basic. There's a ton of information that still not available for download: your, your interests, or your contact info. And your Likes? Your own precious Likes? Off limits. Maybe by the time you're finished with your 4D friend rejection map, Facebook will swing open its data doors a little wider and you can learn more about yourself.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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