How can I contribute Facebook posts?

George Washington University media professor Nikki Usher dubbed Hurricane Harvey the first big natural disaster from the age of social media. But we risk losing the rich history represented by social media posts because they are hidden away on proprietary platforms. At Harvey Memories Project (HMP), we’d like to help contributors share and preserve Facebook posts related to Harvey. Of course, we also want to respect people’s privacy and copyright, so we ask that you just share your own words and images, not comments or posts made by others.

There are several methods for sharing Facebook posts through HMP:

  • Save images and videos you’ve uploaded to Facebook.  If you want to share an image or video that you posted on Facebook:

On a Mac or PC: Click to open that image or video. Under “Options” (lower right), select Download. (With video, you can download a High Definition or Standard Definition video.) The file will be saved to your downloads folder.

On an iPhone: Tap the image to open it, then tap the enlarged image and choose “Save Photo” from the menu. You’ll find the image in the Photos app.

  • Copy and paste your Facebook post(s) into another document.  Probably the easiest way to share your Facebook posts with HMP is to copy and paste them into a separate document. Simply highlight the date of the post and the text, then copy and paste into Word document or Google Document.  You can include a series of posts in a single document. Save that document as a PDF and upload it to HMP.

To copy images embedded in the post, click to open the image, then right click to copy it. Paste the image into the document.

  • Do a screen capture of your Facebook post. Essentially this method will convert your post to an image. For directions on making a screenshot, see Upload the screenshot file to HMP.

  • Export posts and media from Facebook

By exporting from Facebook, you can get posts from a specific date range. However, you may also export comments made by friends and posts not related to Harvey, so you will likely need to do some editing to delete extra information.

  1. Open Facebook on a web browser
  2. Go to Settings
  3. Click on “To download your information, go to Your Facebook Information.”
  4. View the Download Your Information link
  5. Choose Date Range (e.g. August 24-September 24, 2017)
  6. Choose Format (HTML)
  7. Choose Media Quality (High)
  8. Click Create File.
  9. Click download. You will need to enter your Facebook password.
  10. You will be notified when your data is ready. Look in your downloads folder for a zip file called facebook-[yourusername]
  11. All of your Facebook posts from the period in question will be visible in your_posts.html (inside the posts folder). You will find your media in the photos_and_videos folder.
  12. To edit your Facebook texts (for example, by selecting just the posts you want to share and removing comments and non-Harvey related posts), you can copy and paste relevant posts into a document (as described above) or into the text form for HMP.
  13. Alternatively, if you are comfortable working with HTML, you can delete irrelevant chunks of text. Open the HTML file in a web browser. Save the file as a PDF, then upload it to HMP.