In this post I explain how to quickly get the birthdays of your Facebook friends and add them to the calendar you use (in my case Google Calendar).

A bit of background

Skip if you want to get straight to the steps.

I don’t like the way Facebook behaves. Facebook has proven over the years that it is morally defunct and that it can’t be relied upon to act responsibly with users’ our data.

I have been trying to limit how much I use Facebook. I’d love to be able to delete it but, after over a decade on there I have a ton of photos I don’t want to lose. I can download all the photos I’ve added but not the photos I’am tagged in by others. Until some clever person tells me how to do that I’m afraid I’m stuck.

I’m trying to minimise how much I use it but noticed one of the main things I use it for is to check if it’s someone’s birthday.

So if I can get the birthdays another way I have one less reason to use it. Great.

Below are the steps I took to extract all the birthdays from Facebook.

The steps to take

I recommend doing this from a desktop/laptop, not from the Facebook app.

1. Get birthdays

First, you need to extract the birthdays from Facebook. It is surprisingly quite straight forward

Log in (preferably in an incognito window). Go to the ‘Events’ page.

There should be a panel in the right sidebar (see Figure 1), below the “Upcoming birthdays” panel, that contains a link labelled Birthdays. Click on this link to download.

Fig 1: Where to find the birthday download link in Facebook

2. Import into calendar

Now you have the set of birthdays downloaded open up your calendar of choice.

For the rest of this post I will be referring to Google Calendar but it is a similar process in the iOS Calendar app and Microsoft Outlook.

Find the add calendar button. In Google Calendar, find the magical three dots (see figure 2). Clicking on this opens up a popup.

Fig 2: Where to find the add calendar actions in Google Calendar

In the dropdown menu, choose the ‘Import’ option.

Location of “import” action in Google Calendar

You should now be on a settings page.

Choose the “Select file from your computer” option. Then select the file you downloaded from Facebook.

Weirdly, when I did this the file had been saved as the name of one of my Facebook friends.

The file should end in .ics

Button to press if you are uploading a file to Google Calendar

That is it. You should now have the birthdays of all your Facebook contacts in your calendar.

Which means; no excuses for forgetting them (con) and even fewer reasons to use Facebook (pro).

I’m always on the lookout for ways to untangle myself from Facebook. If you have any tips please do share in the comments.