Facebook to investigate presence of videos in user archives which were shot on FB but never published

In what could be a new development, users are discovering that while downloading their Facebook archive, they are seeing videos which they had recorded, but never published on Facebook also showing up in the archive.


Ever since the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal has taken over the mainstream media discussion, a lot of users have become wary of Facebook. The #DeleteFacebook hashtag is gaining momentum among a lot of users as well. But considering you have invested so many years on Facebook's platform, even if you want to delete your account you surely want to take a copy of your data.

In what could be a new development, users are discovering that while downloading their Facebook archive, they are seeing videos which they had recorded, but never published on Facebook also showing up in the archive. Which means Facebook has been saving even that video data that was never meant to be published on its platform.

Facebook to investigate presence of videos in user archives which were shot on FB but never published

Representational image. Reuters

Facebook archive lets you download all the content you have ever published on Facebook. This may include status updates, search queries, photos and videos. A lot of people are taking Facebook archive dumps after the questions around Facebook's data protection policy were raised.

In the US, when a user tried downloading her Facebook data, she noticed that in the archive she could also find several videos which she filmed on Facebook and previewed them, but never really published them on the platform. Turns out Facebook had saved each one of her unposted videos on its servers.

"From what I can tell, most people haven’t noticed this yet. (Or, possibly, they have and are unperturbed.) One reason might be that the videos are saved in the FLV format, short for Flash Video. Most default video players can’t read them, but you can watch them in VLC. You can’t preview a .flv file in a file browser, which could make it a little trickier to figure out what videos Facebook has of yours," says the author who broke the story in New York Magazine.

Facebook has acknowledged the matter and has started an investigation into the same.

Speaking to CNET, a Facebook representative said, "We've heard that when accessing their information from our Download Your Information tool, some people are seeing their old videos that do not appear on their profile or Activity Log. We are investigating."

This is another skeleton that has emerged from this ongoing data scandal that came to light earlier last week. Facebook has also been accused of storing call data and SMSes from Android apps of Facebook. Ars Technica reported that users who checked data gathered by Facebook on them found that it had years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and text messages.

Facebook said Sunday the information is uploaded to secure servers and comes only from Android users who opt-in to allow it. Spokeswomen say the data is not sold or shared with users’ friends or outside apps. They say the data is used “to improve people’s experience across Facebook” by helping to connect with others.

The scandal has moved much beyond the US and the UK. Even the Indian government has pulled up Facebook. According to a report by the Economic Times, in the letter addressed to Facebook by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the government also asked the social media giant whether the data has been used to manipulate the Indian electoral process in any way.

Facebook has been given time till 7 April 2018 to respond to the letter.