Often when we report on Facebook it’s following their latest scandal, so it’s refreshing to be able to talk about something that appears to be 100% positive. Facebook has today announced the release of the first data portability tool that will enable users to transfer/ back up their Facebook photos to Google Photos.
There’s no apparent catch, no trick, nothing we can see that even raises one of my incredibly sceptical eyebrows. Now, this data transfer tool is in development and so will only be available in Ireland to start with, but that’s ok: a service like this needs a soft rollout.
For those of us not living in Ireland – i.e. most of us – the service is expected to launch worldwide by mid-2020. Facebook already offers a service similar to Google’s Take Out where you can download your data, but a true data portability service that allows you to send your data to another service without having to transit through your PC is a huge deal.
We could cast doubt on Facebook’s motivations here, and we’re sure that their motivations are multi-faceted, more than likely resulting from the intersection of potential impending legislation, regulator pressure and poor public sentiment. But let’s just have this one pure moment of something good and positive for the internet.
Facebook isn’t going this alone, however, as part of the wider Data Transfer Project they have been part of working on an open-source standard for data portability. Other contributors to the project include Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Apple, the project aims to use existing APIs and a common data standard to enable the flow of user data between providers.
We are strong proponents of personal data portability and would love to see enhanced control over personal data online: your data is your commodity, and you should be in control of it. Now Facebook has made the first move, will they follow with more data portability or will other companies jump on board the portable data train?