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What’s New With Data Portability and our Transfer Your Information Tool

October 18, 2022ByWilliam Morland

Today we have an interview with William Morland, a software engineer who works on data portability at Meta. Below, he talks about the work he does on our Transfer Your Information tool, a key control that allows people to transfer their data from Meta-owned apps to other platforms.

To begin with, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I work out of Meta’s London office as a software engineer for data portability. One of my main focus areas is our Transfer Your Information (TYI) tool. Data portability is a space where regulation and services continue to evolve. Because the space is quickly developing, I get to work on new types of products and technical solutions that give people more control and choice over their data.

What is the Transfer Your Information tool and what’s your current focus?

TYI makes it possible for people to transfer a copy of data such as photos, videos or posts to a variety of destinations such as Google Photos, Dropbox, and Koofr. We have expanded the team over the past few years, and we continue to invest in improving the tool as well as fostering innovation with current and potential partners. Earlier this year we added Daybook, and we are working to identify new services that could enhance our already-diverse ecosystem of destinations. If you are a developer who is interested in learning more about TYI you can request more information here.

What are some of the other things that you worked on recently?

Since our last update, where we rebuilt our data portability tool from the ground up and announced improvements designed to make data portability more seamless for people, we’ve put a lot of thought into how we can make people’s experience better when creating a transfer. We’ve revamped the main screen of the tool to include a few shortcuts to the most common types of transfers such as photo and video transfers to Google Photos, Dropbox and Koofr.

How do you incorporate feedback into improvements to the tool?

Earlier this year we conducted a number of user research sessions where we showed the TYI tool to people who haven’t seen it and asked them for their thoughts. One of the recommendations we heard over and over again was that the tool was difficult to find. We fixed this by adding the option to transfer photos and videos from the users’ profile page. We hope this will increase awareness of the tool, and make it easier for people to transfer a copy of their data from Facebook to other services.

Can destinations promote Transfer Your Information to the people who use their services?

Another improvement we implemented allows the destinations that we work with to create links that pre-select transfer options such as target destination (e.g., Dropbox) and data type (e.g., Photos). When someone follows the link, the TYI tool automatically fills in the transfer set up information using the information from the link. People still have control over the process and need to approve and authenticate the transfer, but these links save time, reduce complexity and have led to increased usage of destinations.

How can people find the Transfer Your Information tool?

The most common way is through your Settings on both the website and mobile apps. If you go to ‘Settings’ and open the ‘Privacy’ tab there is a section titled ‘Your Facebook Information’. You can choose ‘Transfer a copy of your information’ from there to open the tool. You can also find additional ways to access the tool here.

How can developers learn more about Meta’s investments in data portability ?

If you are a developer who is interested in learning more about TYI you can request more information here.