Instagram Will Finally Let Users Download Their Own Data

April 12, 2018, 3:16 PM UTC

Facebook-owned Instagram is moving ahead with a plan to let users download their data from the photo-sharing service.

Instagram said that it’s currently building a new data portability tool that will allow users to copy their photos, videos, and messages to their computers. The company didn’t say when the data-download tool would launch, but a May 25 deadline might make sense. That’s the day that the European GDPR provision that requires companies to give users the option to download their data takes effect.

“We are building a new data download tool,” a company spokesperson told Fortune. “You’ll soon be able to download a copy of what you’ve shared on Instagram, including your photos, videos and messages.” The spokesperson added that the service will be available “globally.” The company didn’t, however, reveal whether users will be able to download follower lists, Stories, and messages.

The move is a win for privacy advocates that have recognized Instagram as conspicuously absent among social networks that allow users to download data. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has allowed users to download data since 2010.

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Data portability has long been a subject of debate in the tech community, with privacy advocates saying users should have full access to the content they own. On the corporate side, however, offering full access to data can be risky if competing services allow for an easy import of pictures, friend lists, and other information into their services.

GDPR, which aims at giving people more control over their digital identities, has made data portability a necessity for popular services like Instagram. But in light of an ongoing Facebook scandal involving how the social network collects and allows data to be used by third-parties, Instagram might have another reason to give users more control over their information.

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