Give Me My Data helps you
reclaim and reuse your Facebook data.

Give Me My Data iswas 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.

Why Reclaim Your Data?

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.

Inspiration for the project

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.

Stasi files controversy - Freiheit für meine Akte!
Image of Ministry for State Security guardhouse (left) by Michael Westdickenberg

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.