While privacy-savy users might think about ways to remove their data from social net­works like Face­book, the aver­age geek is much more wor­ried about los­ing such data against his will. Enter Social­Safe, a handy tool which backs up all your Face­book data on your local com­puter. Eas­ier said than done you might think — but the joint ven­ture beween British online experts iBun­dle and 1minus1 does a nice job for a very low price.

But why would you want to backup your Face­book data at all? There are many good rea­sons, the most impor­tant being that one day your account just might dis­abled. Hap­pens a lot these days, some­times because users vio­late the TOS, some­times because some algo­rithm trig­gers a false alarm. Social­Safe is an Adobe Air based client that stores Face­book data offline and tracks changes between sin­gle “snap­shots”. After the instal­la­tion and the ini­tial authen­ti­ca­tion the pro­gram gen­er­ates a snap­shot of one’s cur­rent con­tacts, wall, photo albums and pro­file infor­ma­tion. Social­Safe ain’t free, but it’s still one of the best things in social media life, and €2,48 for a two-computer license def­i­nitely is a steal. This video explains the basics (actu­ally, this cov­ers pretty much every­thing that can be said about this sim­ple yet help­full app):

The first backup takes a while, depend­ing on your num­ber of pho­tos. From there on, Social­Safe does incre­men­tal back­ups. This means that only the dif­fer­ences between the pre­vi­ous and the cur­rent backup are stored, allow­ing an inter­est­ing func­tion: the pro­gram keeps track of the users friends and fil­ters the list for “lost” and “found” friends. So Social­Safe not only backs up all the data but also gen­er­ates an account “history”:

Social Safe

The soft­ware is quite fresh, and there are still a few items on the wish­list: cur­rently, there is no way to trig­ger a full backup man­u­ally, videos and pri­vate mes­sages are ignored and, in my case, the wall backup didn’t work. But the team seems quite moti­vated, and they are work­ing on an update right now:

We are how­ever con­tin­u­ing our work to fully utilise Facebook’s apis so that you can export/backup all that you have cre­ated for your Face­book .. and expand­ing SocialSafe’s capa­bil­i­ties to include the back­ing up of your data on other social net­works. But it’s not just about back­ing up. It would be very easy for us to sim­ply export every­thing into one unread­able file and store it some­where on your com­puter as a backup, but what use is that if you can’t view it? We have been work­ing busily over the last few months on a bet­ter way to view this backed up information.

Good work guys — this year, the Easter Bunny for­got again to bring me my Face­book export func­tion, and since Mark Zucker­berg prob­a­bly won’t deliver, I’m glad you guys are fill­ing the gap!