Is it possible to export birthdays from Facebook?
September 14, 2019 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm quitting, after being an extremely minimal user anyway, and the one thing I actually care about getting is people's birthdays. I'm not finding an obvious way to do it, though. Things I've tried....

I have tried using the iCal link under events, and all I get is a single event for a group that I thought I didn't belong to anymore.

I have tried exporting all of my Facebook data, but the info about friends just lists their names and when we became friends. (I'm going to try downloading in json but I'm not optimistic.)

Am I really stuck just going through every single friend and hand-typing their birthdays in a spreadsheet or whatever? Is there some secret trick I'm missing?

(I'm pretty comfortable doing weird data munging, so I'm open to ideas.)
posted by epersonae to Technology (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You don't get to download that data because it's their data, not your data.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:34 PM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

The only trick I thought of was going through my email inbox searching for Facebook notifications, because there was a year or two where I was getting a daily email from Facebook listing my friends who had birthdays on that date. It makes it somewhat easier although still irritating.
posted by sallybrown at 1:50 PM on September 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Is it still possible to synchronize contacts using a phone? I'm 95% certain this includes birthdays. This used to be integrated into iOS a few years ago, and I assume Android as well. I believe it works both ways — it uploads all your data to Facebook too — so if it still an option, I would temporarily disconnect my phone from my real contacts account (e.g. Gmail), and then use a fake account or my iCloud account or something and synchronize contact data. Then I would export from the second account and break the sync connection with Facebook, then reconnect my normal contacts account to my phone again and use the Gmail web interface to import the contacts. The last step would be to clear out the contacts from the secondary/iCloud account.

Ninja edit: It looks like maybe Facebook disabled contact syncing a few years ago?
posted by stopgap at 1:54 PM on September 14, 2019

I don't think you can do an export, but you can see them all on one page here.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:58 PM on September 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

Yeah, the only email I receive from FB is birthday notifications, so I can cull the days for everybody I want to that way.
posted by rhizome at 2:19 PM on September 14, 2019

I did this earlier this year, and was so excited to share something useful! However, when I tried to find it again, it seems like Facebook shut down exporting the birthday calendar a few months ago. At the end of the article, it looks like there is a script that someone made to pull birthdays from FB and make an iCal (the Github page also includes a Youtube video to help you set it up if you're not familiar with the instructions). Good luck!
posted by sincerely yours at 2:58 PM on September 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Don't know if this will work for birthdays as well, but give it a try.
posted by WCityMike at 5:48 PM on September 14, 2019

Weirdly, the mobile version (change url to "m." at the beginning, or open in a mobile browser) of that "all on one page" actually shows all the birthdays in one list.

My friend list is short enough (and the birthdays I actually care about is an even shorter list), that that's enough to do what I need. Thanks!
posted by epersonae at 1:20 PM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

(I'll post again if I end up doing some kind of wild XSLT nonsense instead of just making a spreadsheet and typing it out.)
posted by epersonae at 1:21 PM on September 18, 2019

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