“It’s the worst, but I just can’t delete Facebook,” the increasingly common refrain goes — at which point the person in question will make a melodramatic show of how successfully the no good, very bad company has successfully allowed them to offload their social responsibilities. Chief among these? Remembering birthdays.
Most of us were, at some point, born. And those who were, often like being reminded of it on the exact day it happened. (For some reason this is considered polite.) Facebook does a very painless job of facilitating this practice. The site also didn’t make it especially obvious that this calendar data could be exported to websites other than Facebook, and then quietly removed that feature entirely last summer. So persisted the most common excuse for enabling the world’s largest data-harvesting operations.
As you may have guessed, a solution exists. Spotted by Drew Olanoff, a new extension for Google Chrome does all the work of copying over those important dates and squishing them into a .ics or .csv file. From there, it’s trivial to import that data into something like Outlook or Google Calendar (or something like Fantastical, if you’re trying to get away from Big Tech altogether.)
The plugin, built by Peter Pshenichny, is called Birthday Calendar Extractor for Facebook — because if you were naming something that extracted birthdays from Facebook into a calendar, what else would you call it?
Once freed from the clutches of Zuckerberg, the dates when acquaintances and loved ones exited the womb appear — at least in my editor Andrew Couts’s experience — appended with a tiny cake emoji. He tested it for me because I deleted my Facebook years ago (without exporting my calendar), and now I don’t know when the hell anything happens.
Mistakes were made. But the bigger mistake, for me or for you, would be continuing to give your time and your personal information to a company you hate.
In case you missed the link above, the plugin is available here.