Facebook has announced that it is launching a tool that will let users transfer their images and videos that they have uploaded on the platform, directly to other services. Facebook is starting this with Google Photos, which means that people can now access these images without having to open Facebook app. The company also said that it believes that if the users of their services have shared data with them, they should be able to move it to another. ‘That’s the principle of data portability, which gives people control and choice while also encouraging innovation,’ the company said in a blogpost.
The tool can be very successful for people who signed up on Facebook since its inception (when it was available for masses) and have been uploading images and videos since then. It is quite possible that some of the images that they had uploaded might have got deleted from their hard drives and to access them, users have to login to Facebook. The tool will save their images and videos on Google Photos. While there is no word on the quality of the images and videos (because they are generally compressed when uploaded on social media platforms) but at least users will have them ready to share right on their phones.
In the blogpost, Steve Satterfield, Director of Privacy and Public Policy, said that Facebook wanted a way to ensure users’ privacy when enabling data transfers. ‘In September, we published a white paper that explores the privacy questions we’re discussing as we build a new generation of data portability tools. Since then, we’ve had conversations with stakeholders around the world to get feedback about what data should be portable and how to ensure that we protect privacy when enabling data transfers,’ added Satterfield.
The photo transfer tool is based on code developed through the company’s participation in the open-source Data Transfer Project and will first be available to people in Ireland, with worldwide availability planned for the first half of 2020. Users can access the new tool in Facebook settings within Your Facebook Information. We’ve kept privacy and security as top priorities, so all data transferred will be encrypted and people will be asked to enter their password before a transfer is initiated. The tool is under testing process and based on the feedback from people, the company will further refine it before releasing it for the masses.
‘We want to build practical portability solutions people can trust and use effectively. To foster that trust, people and online services need clear rules about what kinds of data should be portable and who is responsible for protecting that data as it moves to different services. We hope this product can help advance conversations on the privacy questions we identified in our white paper. We know we can’t do this alone, so we encourage other companies to join the Data Transfer Project to expand options for people and continue to push data portability innovation forward,’ Satterfield urged.