Leaving Facebook… with copies of photos you’re tagged in

So, in late March of this year I decided to delete my Facebook account – primarily due to the Cambridge Analytica scandal coming to light. Since then, additional revelations have lowered even further my opinion of Facebook’s corporate governance and overall morality; I believe the company should be much more heavily regulated, if not entirely shut down by the FTC or the like. Anyhow, back to March – I went to download a copy of my information on Facebook in preparation for deleting my account, and eventually received a zip file with my facebook profile, messages, and photos… that I had uploaded myself, but not all of the other photos in my profile that were uploaded by other people (and appeared in my “Photos of You” tab). It seemed there was no way to get those photos downloaded except for going to them one by one, which I started to do, and then gave up after a short while, and decided merely to “Deactivate” my account until I had time to come back and download all these photos, or find a better way to get them.

So here I am, in the Xmas-New Year’s break, and Googling for a solution. Lo and behold, a fellow named Nathan Merritt has figured out a way, described in this excellent post. There’s some additional discussion on the comments about how to enhance his solution for downloading full-size photos, which caseklim solves well.

If you’re starting as a non-developer, it does take several steps to set this up – assuming you’re on a Mac, you’ll need to use the command-line interface via the Terminal app to install Homebrew, which then enables you to install wget and rename. Completing the Homebrew installation also requires the installation of the Command Line Tools for XCode, which may require signing up for an Apple Developer account and accepting the current XCode license agreements – even with this, it took me a bit extra to pass that step due to this error. You’ll also need to paste some javascript into your browser’s Developer Console while logged into Facebook.

At the end of the day, if you aren’t tagged in that many photos that you didn’t upload yourself, it may not be worth this extra time / work – but for most people, this method will probably end up being faster (and much less tedious) than downloading all those photos one by one.

Next on the to do list: Nathan’s post also made me take another look at diaspora*, which I thought had died years ago, but appears to still have an active developer community and one would assume by this point a decent-sized user base… ? Other alternatives mentioned are Ello (which I think I tried when it was new, and didn’t catch on) and Vero.

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