How To Backup Social Media in 2019: Duplicating Your Second Life
For better or worse, our lives revolve around status updates. The more time you spend using social media, the more data you collect. While Facebook might have its own uses for that data, it’s likely to have value to you, as well. In this article, we’ll show you how to backup social media, so your data never gets lost in the shuffle.
A few years back, there were many tools to manage this process. All-in-one tools like Frostbox, Backupify and SocialSafe were popular, capable of managing multiple social media platforms, backing up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other services. There were many standalone tools, too.
Almost all of them have closed. It’s hard to say why. Many people don’t bother backing up social media data, while most social media services now let you download backup files directly.
We’ll cover steps to download backup files later. Because manual backups can be a pain and, even if you download your social media archives, you should still secure them in the cloud, we’ll first look at three Cloudwards.net favorites capable of Facebook and Instagram backup: pCloud, Acronis True Image and IDrive.
CLOUD BACKUP FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
Only a handful of cloud storage and online backup providers include social media backup, and only for Facebook and Twitter, but using one of these tools can save you time. In addition to providing benefits such as desktop and mobile backup, they offer synchronization and sharing.
There’s a difference between cloud storage and online backup that’s important to understand. When it comes to social media backup, however, they work more or less the same way, copying photos, videos and, occasionally, other information.
IDRIVE: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
IDrive is one of the most versatile online backup services. A single subscription covers unlimited computers and IDrive provides smartphone backup, which few providers include. Social media backup for Facebook and Instagram is just the icing.
For Facebook and Instagram, IDrive protects photos and videos by storing copies on its cloud servers. Personal albums and media you’ve been tagged in are included in the backup, which could be useful since getting untagged and unfriended means you’d lose access to that content.
Backup is automatic and incremental, so only media added since your last backup gets copied. This saves time and bandwidth. You have to execute backups manually. This can be done from the IDrive web interface or from your Android or iOS device.
Affordable subscriptions are another reason to pick IDrive. You can get 2TB of backup for just over $50 a month or 5TB for just over $75. Either should be plenty of storage for your social media, desktop and smartphone content. There’s also a free 5GB plan.
For more information, including about features such as file sync and sharing, read our IDrive review.
ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
While IDrive looks great on paper, it can be woefully slow. Rival Acronis True Image provides faster backups, thanks to a larger server network. It can also backup Facebook and Instagram, and does so more comprehensively than IDrive.
In addition to Facebook photos and videos, True Image preserves messages, contacts and likes. For Instagram, it saves all photos, a count of likes, tags and comments for each post.
True Image backs up both platforms continuously. That means you don’t have to kick off your social media backup manually like you do with IDrive. Backups are incremental, so only data that hasn’t already been saved gets copied.
Should your Facebook or Instagram profile be deleted, Acronis True Image can even restore backed-up content to a new profile.
All data gets encrypted at rest in the Acronis Backup Cloud using 256-bit AES. For more privacy, an option for private, end-to-end encryption is available. As noted in our Acronis True Image review, you need to set that up before you start your backup.
You can backup Facebook or Instagram from the True Image web dashboard or your smartphone. Like IDrive, True Image ranks among the best online backup for mobile devices, with Android and iOS apps that can protect contacts, photos, videos and text messages.
The only reason not to consider True Image over IDrive for social media backup is that the cost is higher. It costs $50 a year for 250GB of backup, about the same price as 2TB of IDrive backup. There’s no free Acronis True Image plan, but you can try the service for 30 days before making a decision.
PCLOUD: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
pCloud is a cloud storage service that ranks as one of the best Dropbox alternatives available, providing similar features and better security, thanks to a zero-knowledge encryption add-on called pCloud Crypto. While file sync, file sharing and saving hard drive space are the big benefits of pCloud, it can also backup social media.
To setup backup, log in to the pCloud web interface and click the “backups” link. There are several services listed there for backup, not just Facebook and Instagram, but Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive, too.
You’re only able to backup Facebook and Instagram albums, saving photos and videos. pCloud doesn’t look for tagged media, either.
While limited in social media backup features, pCloud provides plenty of space for your images. You can sign up for a free 10GB account, a 500GB account for $5 a month or a 2TB account for $8 a month. We rank pCloud among the best free cloud storage services and believe its 2TB subscription to be one of the best deals in cloud storage.
CLOUDSFER SOCIAL MEDIA BACKUP
Cloudsfer isn’t an online backup or cloud storage service, but a middleman designed to transfer files between them. Cloudsfer lets you perform manual and scheduled file transfers. It doesn’t have as many cloud service options as other entries in our best cloud-to-cloud managementlist, but it does outperform them when it comes to social media.
Options include Facebook, Instagram, Flickr and 500px, a cloud storage tool for photographers that has social media features.
Unfortunately, Cloudsfer can only move images and photos and doesn’t have an option for tagged content.
There is a free Cloudsfer plan. It doesn’t maintain file versions or provide filters, and you can only run one migration at a time, but that should be fine for social media backup.
With a Cloudsfer Personal plan, you can run three migrations at once, instead of just the one that the free plan permits. It’s too expensive for simple social media backup, though, at 75 cents a gigabyte, with a minimum charge of 8GB.
IFTTT SOCIAL MEDIA BACKUP
While the tools mentioned so far work well for Facebook and Instagram, most other social media platforms are left out. Additionally, most online backup and cloud storage services don’t have native features to back up social media services. If your services of choice aren’t represented, one workaround is to use IFTTT for social media backup.
IFTTT provides a la carte integrations for web applications, many of which are cloud and social media services. The name stands for “if this, then that,” describing its cause-and-effect approach to automation. In a nutshell, an action occurs on one service, such as a social media tag, and that results in a trigger action, such as storing the tagged item in Google Drive.
It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. IFTTT has several recipes available for social media backup ready to go, so all you have to do is sign up and pick your poison.
We can’t cover all the possibilities, but here are a few recipes we found for social media backup:
Twitter: add files in tweets to Dropbox
Twitter: save tweets to Google Docs
Tumblr: backup posts to Google Drive
Tumblr: backup posts to Evernote
Facebook: backup photos to Google Drive
Facebook: backup photos to Dropbox
Pinterest: backup pins to Google Drive
Instagram: backup photos to Google Drive
We have an article on backup with IFTTT, though it doesn’t focus on social media.
IFTTT rival Zapier has ready-to-roll social media backup algorithms, too. We suggest exploring IFTTT first, though, since it’s free and Zapier isn’t. If you’d like more help making a decision, here’s an article pitting IFTTT against Zapier.
MANUAL SOCIAL MEDIA BACKUP
While automation and the cloud work best for backup, most popular social media platforms have manual options for downloading your data. These can be stored locally, or locally and remotely, if you want to follow the 3-2-1 rule of backup.
You can export a .csv file containing your connection data directly from LinkedIn. The file includes name, title, company and email address. It’s not perfect, but it’ll, at least, preserve your network information, so that you don’t lose those important contacts.
To export your network connections from LinkedIn:
Click “my network” at the top of your homepage
Click “your connections number” on the left
Click “manage synced and imported contacts” on the top right
Click “export contacts” under the “advanced” header
LinkedIn will prepare your file and email you within a few minutes. That email will contain a link letting you download a .zip file that includes your connections.
Facebook makes it simple to obtain a copy of your backup data. Click the little downward arrow near the top of your account, then click settings. Click “your Facebook information” on the left.
To the left of the words, “download your information,” click “view.” You’ll be redirected to a page where you can create a backup file with your posts, photos, videos, comments, likes, friends and almost everything else you’ve ever done on Facebook.
There’s even an option for ad topics that Facebook has deemed relevant to you and your location history, which makes Mark Zuckerberg seem like the world’s biggest creep.
Pick what information you want, a date range, format and media quality. Once you’re done, you can disable Facebook’s location services, if you want (settings > security & location > location).
Download your Twitter archive by heading to your account settings and selecting “settings and privacy.” On the next page, scroll down and select “your Twitter data” on the left-side menu.
Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page. There will be a button for “request Twitter data.”
Click that and Twitter will prepare your file, sending you an email when it’s ready. You’ll then be able to download a .zip file with your Twitter archive.
Pro tip: if you’re using a backup service that automatically backs up by file type, that file will be automatically sent to the cloud. One such service is Backblaze. At $5 a month for unlimited backup, you won’t find a better deal. Read our Backblaze review for details.
As is the trend with social media, Instagram now provides a built-in feature to download your data for backup. This feature isn’t restricted to photos and videos. You can download a record of your archived stories, profile, contacts, likes, direct messages, searches and several other things.
To download your data, go to your profile page and select the “privacy & security” link. Scroll down and click “request download” under the “data download” header.
Input your email address and Instagram will let you know when your download file is ready, which can take up to 48 hours.
The key to backing up is thinking ahead. Though it seems reasonable to assume that your social media content will always be there, photos get deleted, friends unfriend and accidents happen, even in corporate data centers.
The best bet for keeping your Facebook and Instagram data preserved is using Acronis True Image, which continuously and incrementally backs up data. For a cheaper approach, both IDrive and pCloud work well, as does using IFTTT for social media and storage services that aren’t supported.
Share your thoughts on social media backup below and let us know what strategies you use.