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How do I download Facebook videos?

Download Facebook videos
Spoiler: Facebook doesn't make it easy

Seen a funny cat video on Facebook and want to save it for posterity? Or maybe you want to have a copy of your friend’s incredibly expensive wedding video? We show how to download Facebook videos – and explain why you probably shouldn’t.

Bit of an odd introduction, right? Well, that’s because Facebook has made it very difficult to download videos from the site – and with good reason. It doesn’t want users saving copies of, say, someone’s personal holiday video or heavily copyrighted film trailers, music videos and clips from TV programmes.

We’d, therefore, argue that you shouldn’t carry out the process unless you have explicit permission from the owner of the video. And that’s in bold so you know we’re deadly serious.

However, all’s not lost. Before I show you the, let’s face it, hacky way to download Facebook videos, there’s another new tool you can use to save videos to watch later. Here it is…

How to save Facebook videos to watch later

After you’ve found a video you want to save, click on the three dots in the top-right corner of the post. The following menu will appear…

Save video option

Select “Save video”. Once that’s done, click on the “Saved” option from the left-hand homepage menu.

Saved Facebook menu

This will bring you to your video archive (you can also save other types of posts such as links and photos).

Saved videos homepage

You can now watch the video at your leisure and as many times as you like. But, as you can see from the big purple box above, Facebook would love you to start specific collections. Think of them as glorified video albums.

To begin, click the “Create your first collection!” box and give it a name…

Create collection

Click “Create” and then OK. The collection will then appear at the top of the Save homepage – along with a congratulations from Facebook.

My collections Facebook

To add a video to a collection, simply press the “Add to collection” button next to the thumbnail and select the collection.

Add to collection option

And you’re finished: you can now put together multiple archives of similar videos – without downloading and potentially getting into trouble.

But, if that just won’t cut the mustard…

How to download Facebook videos

I’m going to throw in yet another warning: only proceed if you have the express (preferably written) permission from the video owner – whether that’s your auntie or a party videographer. Certainly do not carry out the steps below for, as an example, Netflix trailers. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Sufficiently scared? Good, let’s begin. Note that this is the safest way to download a video from Facebook as it doesn’t involve a possibly unscrupulous downloader website (of which there are dozens).

Find the video you want to save and right-click on the video itself.

Copy Facebook video URL

Click “Copy video URL at current time”, paste it into a new browser tab/window and hit Enter.

This is where the hackiness begins. In the URL, replace the “www” with “mbasic” and hit Enter.

Download Facebook videos

This will bring up an ancient-looking page…

Basic Facebook video page

Click the play symbol overlay on the video and a new tab will open with a video player on a black background.

Facebook video player

Right-click on the video and select “Save Video As”.

Save Facebook video to your computer

Select a name and destination for the MPEG4 video and you’re free to enjoy the video at your leisure.

READ NEXT: Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

About the author

Max Figgett

Max has written for numerous websites and magazines over the years. Whether it’s about ancient hardware or software secrets, no Big Tech Question is too obscure for him to tackle.

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