Recent facebook scandal made us all aware of the data privacy issues. We all knew that Facebook had many of our data, but to what degree, we were not aware of.

What it does

There are a few quick steps user needs to take to use the tool.

  1. Download your Facebook data from Facebook: go to settings, then you will see "Download a copy of your Facebook data". Then within in a few minutes (longer if you are a heavy Facebook user), you will receive your Facebook data via email.
  2. Once you have received the zip file of your data via email, unzip it, and remove every file that is not an html.
  3. Zip the remaining files, and now you are ready to upload for data analysis!
  4. Upload the data by either dragging and dropping your zipfile or by selecting from the window.
  5. View your analysis results.

How I built it

We had two main tasks to solve: how to make an interactive web tool for users to easily upload their data, and how to securely process the data without saving users' data and give back the results.

Challenges I ran into

The biggest challenge was to extract useful data from the data provided by Facebook. For example, the size of the zip file given by Facebook is over 2 GB even for a light Facebook user. Going through the data and gathering a set of meaningful information for users to easily understand was quite a hurdle to overcome.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We were able to answer a few questions we may have of our daily lives by analyzing the data from Facebook. For example, by using the time slider tool, users can get answers on the following questions: with whom did I interact the most over the years? Who was my best friend (most number of messages) in 2015? 2016? Many questions besides the questions mentioned here can be answered through our tool. Although all team members were new to React (a javascript library), we went to the workshop, played around with the code, and was able to successfully use the library to create a nice user interface for people to use our tool, Facebook data analyzer.

What I learned

We learned that presenting data in a meaningful way is an important task, because it shapes the way people understand the data. While trying to provide average users with the tools to be aware of how much and what kind of data are being stored, we also learned, not only as Facebook users but as software engineers, that we should take more careful measures when dealing with personal data.

What's next for Facebook Data Analyzer

There are a lot of ways for data analyzer to analyze the data, because so much data is being stored. We only have worked on part of the whole data. One future extension we aim to do includes the followings but not limited to: what time of the data are you most active on Facebook? Who sent more messages between the two parties? Did I send more message to my friend John, or did he? There are so many questions that can be answered through our tool, and we are excited to add on more features!

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