Instagram, the visual story-centric social media platform owned by Facebook, has now added a long-requested feature: the ability for users to download their data – including images, posts and comments.
Not to be cynical, but Instagram is not making this move out of the kindness of its heart: the compliance deadline for GDPR is in a month and data portability is one of its many requirements.
What’s data portability? From the GDPR articles:
Data subject shall have the right to receive the personal data concerning him or her, which he or she has provided to a controller, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format
To decode this a bit, the “data subject” means the user of the service – in this case anyone who uses Instagram.
While GDPR is meant to apply to any service that holds or uses the personal data of any European citizen, many online services are making GDPR-mandated services available to all their users regardless of where they live. This seems like a pretty good thing for everyone and a victory for user rights and privacy around the world.
So if you happen to be an Instagram user who’d like to quit the platform and delete your account, but would like to save the photos, videos and stories you’ve posted, the new Instagram “data download” option will allow you to take all your data with you when you leave.
To access this service, log in to your account, go to your profile, click “edit profile,” and then go to the “privacy and security” area. You’ll see a “Data download” header with a link to request a download of your data.
Once you make the request for your data, keep in mind that you won’t receive it right away. When I made my request, it took a few hours to get an email that my data was ready to download. Instagram says that it could take up to two days in some cases.