Dec 6 2019

Export Your Data From Google, Twitter, and Instagram

It feels like every year we rely more on online services, from Google, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others. Each of these online services stores a lot of your personal data, not just meta data, but actual data like contacts, posts, photos, chats. Data is more than just personal and private, it is often our work and livelihood.

Unfortunately, to drive user engagement on their own platforms, these services don’t make it easy to interoperate with others, in essence locking you in. Much the personal and private data that we pour into these services is locked into the one service you posted, uploaded, or commented on.

It is a good idea to export all your personal and private data you consider valuable, at least once a year, from any online platform or services. Be sure to backup this data accordingly, using both physical and cloud backup solutions.

For example, with Google Takeout you can export your Blogger posts and pages, GMail email and contacts, Drive documents, YouTube videos and comments, and much more.

Google Takeout

I don’t backup my data off of Google because they would lose it, but because it has been documented a number of times that Google can suspend any account, even for what would be considered normal behavior and usage by the account holder. In the case of services like Twitter and Instagram, there are cases that accounts have been hijacked by hackers or even former friends. Additionally, these services can be bought up by other companies and can change their terms of service in a way that impacts your data and work, like when Flickr got acquired by SmugMug in 2018.