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How to find and delete the data Facebook gathers on you

TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen demonstrates how to locate and delete personal information gathered by Facebook.
by Jeff Rossen and Lindsey Bomnin and Conor Ferguson / / Source: TODAY

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If you're worried about what personal information Facebook has gathered on you, there's a way to find it and delete it.

National investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen demonstrated on TODAY Wednesday how to download all the information Facebook has gathered on you, as the company deals with an ongoing backlash over data breaches and privacy issues.

Currently, the only way to access your private information was to go online to facebook.com/settings.

At the bottom of the screen, tap "download a copy of your Facebook data," and then click "download archive."

Get Jeff Rossen's new book, "Rossen to the Rescue," here.

After you enter your password, it will send all of the data to the email address connected with your Facebook account, which took about 15 minutes when Rossen completed the process. You have to be on a computer to access the information.

Rossen was surprised to learn Facebook was storing data from his personal chats, deleted friends, events attended, photos and videos of his children, and his contact list with phone numbers of everyone stored in his phone.

Not just his Facebook friends, but all the contacts in his phone regardless if they are Facebook users or not.

You can delete the information by accessing the Facebook app on your phone. Hit the button with the three lines on the bottom right, scroll to "settings," then tap "activity log."

From there you can go to a specific year and delete data from different categories, such as deleting all your photo and video activity from 2010.

Electing to delete a category takes it off the Facebook servers, but the company says that just like deleting your account, it could take up to 90 days for that information to be completely wiped from their servers.

Facebook announced Wednesday morning that it will be revamping its privacy settings on mobile devices in the coming weeks to make it easier for users to access their personal information.

The changes include a new "Privacy Shortcuts" menu and tools that will allow users to more easily find, manage and delete their personal data.

Editor's Note: After our story aired about Facebook, Netflix, Candy Crush and other apps, Netflix told NBC News, “We take the security of our members' accounts and data seriously and Netflix employs numerous proactive measures to detect fraudulent activity to keep the Netflix service and our members' accounts secure.”

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