Facebook now testing a feature to prevent profile pictures abuse

Facebook is introducing a new feature to give users peace of mind around how their profile photo can be used and accessed by others.

If you’ve never had your profile picture stolen — lucky you. But it’s a serious problem, with fraudsters, trolls, and scammers often stealing the identity of others by harvesting the info they list publicly on Facebook. The popular social media network is now carrying out a pilot program in India that is designed to protect users who are concerned about other people gaining access to their profile image. The new ‘photo guard’ feature has a range of safety measures that include:

  • Preventing other users from downloading a person’s profile pic, or sharing it with others
  • Preventing other users from tagging other people in a person’s profile pic
  • Preventing other users from taking screenshots of a person’s profile pic — although this is initially for the Android app only

The new profile picture guard tool, which is being piloted in India, does four key things. It stops people from downloading your profile picture, or sharing it, or sending it in a Facebook message.

It stops non-friends from tagging anyone including themselves in it. It stops people taking screenshots (where possible, which is only on Android smartphones at the moment). And it adds “a blue border and shield around your profile picture as a visual cue of protection.”

Facebook is offering another option to its users — a way to overlay a pattern on top of their profile picture. Why? Because “based on preliminary tests, we’ve learned that when someone adds an extra design layer to their profile picture, other people are at least 75% less likely to copy that picture.”

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