Facebook Introduces Profile Picture Guard: Privacy Boost for Users?

Prayank

In a move to reinforce the privacy protection and security of your data from other Facebook users, the company has introduced a new security feature which will protect a user’s profile picture from being shared or downloaded.

This feature is currently only being rolled out in India and will give additional control to users over who is and isn’t allowed to download and share their profile pictures.

Facebook is doing this in order to deter misuse of profile pictures on their platform and will be expanding this feature in other countries soon too.

“In India, we’ve heard that people want more control over their profile pictures, and we’ve been working over the past year to understand how we can help. Today, we are piloting new tools that give people in India more control,” the company stated.

The company researched in India alongside partners Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz and concluded that women avoid sharing ‘profile pictures that include their faces’ due to privacy concerns.

“Not everyone feels safe adding a profile picture. These tools are designed to give people more control over their experience and help keep them safe online,” the company added.

Four Things to Know About the Profile Picture Guard

The feature has been rolled out and users located in India will now be greeted with a step-by-step guide for the same when they log in next.

Adding the Profile Picture Guard on Facebook will change your profile settings in the following ways:

  • Adding the guard will deter people from downloading, sharing or sending your profile picture in a message on Facebook.
  • Users who are not added as your friend won’t be able to tag themselves or anyone else in your profile picture.
  • It will restrict users from taking a screenshot of your profile picture. This feature, however, is limited to Android devices currently.
  • After you activate the Profile Picture Guard, a blue border and shield will appear around your profile picture.

“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,” the company added.

Welcome Update, Not Infallible

Adding a security shield to profile pictures on a social networking website as big as Facebook is a long overdue update and having the screenshot protection functionality working in a limited spectrum isn’t very reassuring.

According to Facebook, “Where possible, we’ll prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook.”

Screenshot functionality is common across smartphones and a company of Facebook’s magnitude must be aware that not developing the screenshot protection feature negates their efforts to deter people from downloading or sharing profile pictures.

While the company’s efforts are laudable, given the nature of the new rudimentary Profile Picture Guard, the praise should only be limited to ‘where possible’.

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#facebook#privacy

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Prayank

Written By

Prayank

Bike enthusiast, traveller, ManUtd follower, army brat, word-smith; Delhi University, Asian College of Journalism, Cardiff University alumnus; a journalist breathing tech these days.