Facebook has finally started implementing the open source data portability framework as the first phase of ‘Data Transfer Project,’ an initiative the company launched last year in collaboration with Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Twitter.
Facebook today announced a new feature that will allow its users to transfer their Facebook photos and videos to their Google Photos accounts—directly and securely without needing to download and reupload it.
The feature is only available to Facebook users in Ireland for now, as a test, and expected to be available to the rest of the world in early 2020.
This new Facebook feature is built using the Data Transfer Project (DTP), a universal data import/export protocol that aims to give users more control over their data and let them quickly move it between online services or apps whenever they want.
“If a user wants to switch to another product or service because they think it is better, they should be able to do so as easily as possible,” the project website says.
“Practical tools that let users backup or archive important information, organize information within multiple accounts, recover from account hijacking, and retrieve data from deprecated services all work to improve user security.”
DTP framework is comprised of three following components that have been designed to let any service easily convert their proprietary data and authentication formats into a common format that must be usable by others.
- Data Models
- Adapters (Data and Authentication)
- Task Management Libraries
It uses existing industry-standard infrastructure and authorization mechanisms, such as OAuth and REST, in a way that even hosting entities do not have access to a user’s data either in transit or at rest.
“Rather than expecting every company to build its own system from scratch, this open source framework allows them to share any improvements in the framework as well as adapters and data models,” Facebook said.
So far, the DTP project has developed adapters for 13 different service providers, listed below, supporting five different types of consumer data, including photos, mail, tasks, contacts, and calendar.
- Remember the Milk
- Solid web decentralization project
- Deezer music streaming service
- Mastodon self-hosted social networking service
For now, Facebook is only testing the transfer of photos and videos to Google photos, but the company is also expecting to add support for more services and data types in the future.
“As we continue to add more services and data types, we needed to look at several factors. It’s important that the system request only the permissions required for the task at hand. Access to the destination service should end once the transfer is complete.”
“Finally, transfers should only be created by the owner of the account. In order to verify this, we ask people to re-enter their password before initiating a transfer. We also send an email to the registered account once a transfer has begun, which allows people a chance to stop the transfer if they change their mind or do not recognize the request.”
Besides all good things, as suspected before, the project could have some serious implications for smaller service providers participating in the project, making it easier for their customers to leave and join services from popular brands with lucrative offers or free services.