Facebook has announced that its photo and video transfer tool, which enables users to copy their Facebook photos and videos over to Google Photos, is now available in all regions.
Facebook first announced the option back in December, with users in Ireland being the first to be able to shift their content across. Facebook then extended it to European, Asian and African regions in March, then the US and Canada in April. And now, all users, globally, can save their Facebook content to Google Photos.
The process is the first step in Facebook’s expanded data portability approach, which will see it explore new ways to enable users to share their Facebook data, which many see as a means to better ingratiate itself with the FTC and weaken arguments of market dominance.
Last September, Facebook published a white paper which outlined the various considerations in building improved portability tools, including user privacy considerations, setting the table for a new approach to such process moving forward.
The Google Photos tool is the first step in this direction, and while Facebook still has a way to go in enabling full data portability, the transfer tool, in combination with its Download Your Information option (which it updated back in March) provides users with more ways to both understand what information Facebook had stored on them, and to transport that information to an alternate source.
The next step will be to enable the export your connections listings to other social networks, which could make it easier to establish networks on other platforms. Of course, that also necessitates those other users joining said platform, and assumes that you’ll want to connect with the same people in other social apps, but providing the freedom to shift all of your information and content around could open up more competition, with Facebook holding less of an advantage in this respect.
But then again, with 3 billion active users across its apps, it’s pretty safe to assume that Facebook will be able to maintain its dominance either way. Sure, having the capacity, and control, to decide where and how your information is used could soften Facebook’s hold, most people are active on Facebook’s apps because all of their friends are, because it’s where everybody else is, and where everyone else logs in and checks for the latest updates.
Enabling users to port that info into new networks could make it easier for the latest trending apps to grow faster, but given Facebook’s efforts to stifle competition, and its habitual position in the modern interactive process, it likely won’t have a significant effect on such.
But maybe that’s a pessimistic view – either way, Facebook giving users more control over their data is a good thing.