Migrating social media data with the data transfer project

The Data Dilemma

Openness, data transparency, and portability are very laudable goals, and we can only welcome attempts to allow users greater access and control over their data. Still, adding open data extensions to proprietary platforms like Facebook and Twitter is a far cry from implementing a fully open source, decentralized social networking platform like Diaspora or Mastodon. The Data Transfer Project is an incremental step in breaking down the walls of Big Tech, but no one should declare victory yet.


  1. Data Transfer Initiative/Project: https://dtinit.org/
  2. Data Transfer Project Overview and Fundamentals: https://datatransferproject.dev/dtp-overview.pdf
  3. Data Transfer Project on Google's GitHub: https://github.com/google/data-transfer-project
  4. Data Transfer Project Documentation: https://dtinit.org/documentation
  5. Data Transfer Project – Enabling portability of photos and videos between services: https://engineering.fb.com/2019/12/02/security/data-transfer-project/
  6. Download a Copy of Your Information on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/help/212802592074644
  7. Competition Is at the Heart of Facebook's Privacy Problem: https://www.wired.com/story/competition-is-at-the-heart-of-facebooks-privacy-problem/
  8. "How We Can 'Free' Our Facebook Friends": https://www.techdirt.com/user/kevin-bankston/
  9. Activity Streams 2.0: https://www.w3.org/TR/activitystreams-core/#introduction
  10. Data Dictionary Activity Object: https://developer.twitter.com/en/docs/twitter-api/enterprise/data-dictionary/activity-streams-objects/activity
  11. Developer Policies: https://developers.facebook.com/devpolicy
  12. Facebook Chat will stop working in Ubuntu this week: https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/04/facebook-chat-api-empathy-pidgin-stop-working

The Author

Nate Drake is a tech journalist specializing in cybersecurity and retro tech.

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