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Ask Slashdot: Facebook Archiving? 368

Posted by timothy
from the get-a-really-really-big-disk dept.
Stenchwarrior writes "I was in the car with my wife and 15-year-old daughter this morning talking about the future of Facebook and how it's likely that they will not be around forever (or at least not at the same capacity as now) and my daughter asked 'Well, what's going to happen to all of my pictures?' It never occurred to her to that Facebook might not be around someday and all of those thousands of photos that she's uploaded might someday be gone. So this is what I ask the good people at Slashdot: What's a good way to preserve all of those memories? Many devices nowadays have direct access to the Internet and even to Facebook and once the images are uploaded they are eventually deleted to make room for more. How do we make sure we can access or backup those files in case Zuckerberg decides to sell out to Google or Microsoft and they do away with everyone's profiles?"
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Ask Slashdot: Facebook Archiving?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:24PM (#35373402)
    The simple answer to your question would be this [].
    • by devxo (1963088)
      Que in the comments how everyone should start hosting their blog and pictures on their own server that they manage themself, or that they should email updates and pictures instead of Facebook. Look, casual people aren't capable of handling their own server and why should they be. Also, it would mean that it all gets non-organized and you have to follow several different sites, nor can you plan events or use any other social features that Facebook offers. Not everyone are interested on all those updates or n
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Carrot007 (37198)

        Nah it aint like that.

        Updates: Who gives a crap, they are throw away, getting rid is probably a blessing later!

        Pictures: Anyone who does not keep a local copy is an idiot and probably deserves to lose em!

        In all, there is no issue.

        • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:35PM (#35373604)

          Pictures: Anyone who does not keep a local copy is an idiot and probably deserves to lose em!

          Yeah submitter, that's right, your 15-year old daughter who grew up in the internet age is an idiot who deserves to lose her memories. Thankfully, we have people like Carrot007 to help point this out.

          • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['yah' in gap]> on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:45PM (#35373722) Journal

            Oh AmicusNYCL, you hopelessly naive liberal do-gooder, you. Don't you realize that every single time a bad thing happens to someone else, they deserve it? Conversely, all good things that happen to me are deserved as well. This philosophy has helped me feel good about myself while not caring about anyone else, and it can help you too! Blame the victim, I always say. It's just easier.

          • by smelch (1988698)
            Who even gives a shit about those kinds of things anyway? "Here are a bazillion pictures I took because everything has a camera on it and I want to KEEP THEM ALL!".... no, pictures aren't for that anymore. They're for isntant "here's what I did that you don't care about." Wanting to keep your facebook photos as an analog to classic photo albums is like equating your status updates to a diary. If she wants to keep them forever, she needs to make hard copies of them, duh.
            • by wondafucka (621502) on Thursday March 03 2011, @06:48PM (#35374432) Homepage Journal

              Who even gives a shit about those kinds of things anyway?

              And this is why most slashdotters hate facebook. Because they don't understand friendship, or the equivalent stimulation provided by nostalgia of said friendships.

              Do you remember the first time you played Doom? How about the first time you compiled a program. It's like that, but with people.

          • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 03 2011, @06:06PM (#35373966) Journal

            If she grew up in the internet age, she has no excuse not to understand the technology. If Grandma thinks the computer is magic, that's understandable. Someone who was born in 1996 should know better.

            I wouldn't say she "deserves" to lose her data, but she really should know better.

            • by uncledrax (112438)

              Because the current generation of users are just that.. USERS.. the previous generation of users? guess what.. users as well. Users don't want to be bothered with learning all the ins and outs, they just want it to work.
              Not everyone can know everything.. or more importantly, bother with taking the time to learn it. I don't read up on the fine points of Class-5 Phone switches, but I still expect my phone to work when I pick up the receiver.
              (Actually that's a lie, I switched to IP telephony a while ag

            • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday March 03 2011, @07:31PM (#35374852)

              If she grew up in the internet age, she has no excuse not to understand the technology.

              That's completely ridiculous. You think that every kid that owns an iPhone understands things like HTTP, iOS, Bluetooth, and the 802.11 specs? Do they also understand database clusters, content delivery networks, event-based user interfaces and load balancing? Should all Facebook users be expected to understand how memcached works?

              The point of a device like the iPhone, or a service like Facebook, is explicitly that you do not need to understand how the technology works in order to use it. This is the "black-box" approach to abstract programming that you learn about in year 1 of computer science classes. It's the same reason I can hit a button on a toaster and get toast without needing to know exactly how the coils heat up or the timer works.

              I wouldn't say she "deserves" to lose her data, but she really should know better.

              No, there is in fact no reason why she should know better. In fact, it's up to the designers of the technology to consider users like her and make their services easier to use and more suited to the needs of users that don't understand how it works. Apple understands this concept. You do not. You may be the guy who designs software and interfaces with the expectation that the kids using the service understand all of the terminology you're using and all of the ramifications involved. That's how you alienate your prospective user base. Facebook makes it easy to upload pictures, they should also make it easy to download them. It would be nice if you could download the original version, but that's asking a bit much for a social networking site instead of an image dump.

              • by Altrag (195300)

                They certainly shouldn't need to know the RFCs or Facebook's code, or how a JPG is compressed. But they sure as hell should know that if they entrust their pictures completely to a third party, the availability of those pictures will be restricted to the availability of that third party.

                This isn't even a technological issue. If I had the only copy of my paper-and-ink photos to some random third party with nothing more than a wink and a nod towards the protection and privacy of those pictures, I shouldn't

          • Well, seriously, though- do people upload a photo to a web site and then delete the local copy?

            • by gknoy (899301)

              Many people upload directly from their phone, and then might delete stuff on the phone to make room for new ones.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by devxo (1963088)
          If you upload a photo from your phone or some other direct way, it's likely you never remember or think about downloading and saving it on your computer.
        • Your updates might be throw away, but not everyone's. Some of mine are funny, and others tell me what I was doing in the past (I don't post trivial events), both are worth saving.

          I didn't take all of the pictures I'm in, and I didn't upload them all from my computer.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        All of the slashdotters who always have to suggest that should actually use Facebook and see what it offers. Once you get familiar with it, it's actually quite fantastic service for many different purposes.

        Some of us value our privacy.

        Strangely, even without a FB account, I have no problem staying in touch with friends, going to all the parties..and having a fulfilling life socializing with friends not only locally, but around the world.

        Hmm...strangely enough....using many of the same ways I've always do

    • I think the obvious answer is to gain employment with the FBI. You will have access to the warrantless and unwarranted archive - into perpetuity.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You can get an entire compilation of every picture, post and conversation your account has had. Emails you a zip file in about 20 minutes

  • Facebook already has a export feature. Just export and store
    • by coolmadsi (823103) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:32PM (#35373548) Homepage Journal

      Facebook already has a export feature. Just export and store

      Indeed, its fairly easy to find. Account (drop down) -> Account Settings -> Download your information

      • by Zenin (266666)

        Indeed, the download is also very BROKEN and has been since they launched least for anyone whos profile size is over ~1GB (easy to do with a few HD video uploads).

        Only the first 1GB of the backup .zip will actually error or "failed download", it'll just stop at about 1GB resulting in an incomplete and thus corrupt and unusable zip archive. Any browser, any OS (I've tried IE, FF, Chrome, and wget on Win7, Mac, and FreeBSD), it fails if it's larger then 1GB.

  • Too late (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lucas teh geek (714343) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:26PM (#35373450)
    Theyre already gone. All you can do now is download the shitty low res copies facebook keeps
    • Re:Too late (Score:4, Informative)

      by FleaPlus (6935) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:42PM (#35373694) Journal

      > All you can do now is download the shitty low res copies facebook keeps

      Huh? Facebook upgraded its resolution last year to handle up to 2048 pixels on the longest edge. Granted, many cameras can shoot higher than that nowadays, but I don't think anybody would describe that as low-res. []

      • Yes they upgraded, but all photos from before they did will be at a much lower res than the original.

      • by DeadboltX (751907)
        Unfortunately the dimensions of an image alone are meaningless when quantifying the quality of the image. Facebook still compresses their images far greater than any base line point and shoot camera does.
  • I don't understand this article is called 'Facebook Archiving'... Backup is backup whatever you look at it, in this case, you're backing up photographs...They're not *Facebook photographs*, they're just photographs, perhaps ordinary JPGS.

    If you want to backup your 'status updates', install Status Net or some twitter clone, then make updates locally with your tool, then get those to sync with twitter and then Facebook...

  • There are already a few third-party (for a fee) options out there, or if you have firefox, perhaps this add on for it may do the job for you. []

  • by dakkon1024 (691790) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:28PM (#35373476)
    Back them up on MySpace
  • by grub (11606) <> on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:28PM (#35373478) Homepage Journal

    No panic, all her better pictures are archived on 4chan.
  • Not to worry (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jaymzter (452402) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:28PM (#35373484) Homepage

    If Facebook should go out of business, all of your photos and personal data will be sold to the highest bidder. I'm sure that ACME advertising would love to archive it for you.

    It's time for your daughter to realize that her (and our) personal information are what constitutes Facebook's most valuable assets.

  • There's nothing to worry about. Facebook is too big to fail!
  • that you're asking that question at all is just fail
    • That's what I am thinking. The quality of the facebook pics are such crap anyway. Who in their right mind thinks that is where their original copies should reside. Keep one copy on your main drive, one backed up to an external, and another on a CD/DVD stored in a fireproof box. And do that with all important files.

    • > that you're asking that question at all is just fail

      In user-land it is. So, uh, maybe we should be asking the question?

  • Isn't that what this site is for?

  • by rwa2 (4391) *

    Same way with most of your sites... something like:

    wget -r -l 2 -p -k --load-profile [path to your mozilla profile for cookies and passwords] []

    Play with the -l and --accept and --reject to filter out stuff you don't want... unfortunately facebook's undescripted URL format will make this difficult. But wget works quite well to backup your other blog sites, like livejournal, blogspot, and slashdot.

    As for myself, I only ever post to facebook via twitter (which also crossposts to buzz and li

  • Why would you want to remember every post and every tweet and every picture? Its a DAMN good things that there is data loss at least for the mundane. I don't want people seeing everything I first posted when I from my first websites and my first forays into the web. LET IT DIE ALREADY YOU FRIGGIN INTERNET VAMPIRES!
  • by c_jonescc (528041) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:43PM (#35373702)
    I use Picasa instead of FB for photos.

    1) I trust the longevity more. Feel free to disagree.
    2) I can upload full resolution images.
    3) My friends can download full albums of full resolution images if I've set privacy settings accordingly.

    When people post images on FB, I'm always bummed that I can't backup the high quality image myself, and these days people seem to email around photo backups of events far less, and simply tag people on Facebook.

    As far as backing up: I have everything important at full res in Picasa, in the cloud, I have them on my computer HD, my iPhone syncs full resolution copies daily, and I keep a regular external HD backup. That all seems pretty safe to me, especially compared to simply expecting FB to keep the sole copy forever.
  • The question is primarily a proof of stupidity on the side of the Facebook user.

    First, when you uploaded it you must have had the original, why didn't you save it?
    Second, contact Facebook as an advertiser and/or marketeer and they will hand you anything you want (for a price).
    Third, ask your favourite 3- or 4 letter agency for info on terrist X...

    And lastly, when you wake up from the stupor that made you place all that personal info on Facebook you will find it's impossible to remove what got out on the

  • Buy a new one every 3 years for $100 and put all your crap on it.
    br. Even better, buy two and keep one in a storage bin or at a relatives in case of a fire or something.
  • The short answer is that you treat Facebook, Flickr, and other sites just like you did back in the Good Old Days--as a means of sharing, not as a means of storage. It's fine to upload and share the photos immediately, but you leave them on your device until you dock the device and download them all (in native resolution) to your computer. Then you can remove delete them from the device.

  • If google or microsoft buys facebook, it's because they want the users. They'll either keep the system, or migrate the user data to their own systems. It's fucking stupid to think they wouldn't. This is another great example of slashdot approving a worthless story with no merit.
  • In my day... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by turgid (580780) on Thursday March 03 2011, @05:51PM (#35373794) Journal

    In my day, we had our own websites, and we were happy.

    We had our own writing, our own art and our own photographs (and source code etc.) and we kept a backup on our own PCs. And we owned the copyright on the stuff that we had created ourselves. We put links to other peoples' web sites that we liked.

    These young people today don't know know how easy they have it. And I'll tell you another thing, it's so easy for them, they've never had to think for themselves. And they've never had to take any responsibility.

    When it all goes horribly wrong, they'll have nothing left and they won't know what to do, and when someone say, "Well, just restore from your backup." They'll say, "What's a backup?"

    And you'll say, "The spare copies of everything that you kept for safe-keeping."

    And there will be a look of bewilderment on their faces and they'll say, "I didn't know you could do that..."

  • by PCM2 (4486)

    How do we make sure we can access or backup those files in case Zuckerberg decides to sell out to Google or Microsoft

    Wow. Are there really still people who think this is the worst that can happen with Facebook?

  • Just send a FOIA request to NSA or DHS, I'm sure they will keep a backup of all photos, tags, friend relations and pretty much everything else.
  • The Foundation: []

    The Debian Project Page: []

    This is a more long-term solution, but think of it as the elegant solution to the problem.

  • I wish.

    I'm more worried nothing will be deleted -- ever.

  • by metrometro (1092237) on Thursday March 03 2011, @06:13PM (#35374050)

    This is what I hope a peer to peer social network could solve.

    You'd be able to choose a host for your, uh, seed so there's some risk gone. But you could also sync your stuff to an encrypted vault with a few friends, and return the favor to them. That's pretty reliable. And then you could export the archive into a format that lots of people could unpack and use, because there's the original open source manager, and perhaps a bunch of alternatives/competitors using the same protocol like you see with bitTorrent clients.

    It's not just about the network of your peers and privacy. It's also owning your lifestream in a format that's still useful five years from now. From there, building out management of a home library is pretty natural, even if it's never shared across the network. I lost almost all of my early journalistic work when my Hotmail account got wiped due to inactivity. That's hard to replace. A consolidated service to both store and share information could be really powerful and universally liked. Facebook is a reasonably effective start at this... but with some inextricable baggage around privacy, ownership and portability.

    Diaspora, despite the rocky start, seems to be the most active project working on this. I hope it thrives.

  • []

    I used this a few years ago. worked great. for those who are on flickr, this would be one way to get your photos 'back'.

    I see that flickr has banned this software now, though ;( what a shame.

    when I had a 'pro' flickr account, I could see all my photos. when I let that expire and go to a free account again, I'm limited to seeing only the last 200 photos even though they were all still there if you knew the url.

    so, as my account was about to expire, I ran flickrd

  • by dcigary (221160) on Thursday March 03 2011, @06:29PM (#35374232) Homepage

    The first thing wrong is that Facebook doesn't have any liability to YOU to keep the information you uploaded online and/or archived. And YOU, expecting Facebook to keep a backup is just moronic. If you upload a photo directly from your cell phone to Facebook, YOU as a Facebook user can't have any reasonable expectation that the photo will stay there, be backed up, or basically anything. It can stay there, it can be taken down, it can disappear without any notice, and if it's published to the public you can't have any expectation that the photo will not be used/copied/shared/drooled on by others that you don't want to have access. The only one responsible for the well being of that photo is YOU, and if you don't save it elsewhere on your own, then you really shouldn't own a cell phone that can take pictures anyhow.

  • Aren't you uploading the pictures from your PC? Why aren't you keeping copies on your PC? You should be backing them up from there...
    • by dingen (958134)
      The only camera a 15 year old owns is probably his/her phone, which they also use to upload the photo directly to Facebook. Unless the photos on the phone are kept there and the user specifically syncs it with his/her PC, there is no local copy.
  • What will happen? The same thing that happened to my AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy profiles. They ascended to a higher plane of consciousness.
  • Backupify (Score:3, Informative)

    by mooncrow (205627) on Thursday March 03 2011, @06:52PM (#35374482)

    Offers free web-based backup for a wide range of social sites: []

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday March 03 2011, @07:00PM (#35374554)

    If you're a Windows user - get Picasa.

    If you're a Mac user - iPhoto works great.

    If you're a Linux/BSD user - teach her about tar.

Isn't this my STOP?!