Facebook is testing a feature to prevent profile pictures being abused by other users

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

The social network today announced 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

When activated, the optional guard is visible through a blue border and shield around a user’s profile pic. The company partnered with an Indian illustrator to make these safety controls more compelling with attractively designed options.

The new feature is driven by research that the company undertook in India. In a blog post, Facebook explained that it found that “some women choose not to share profile pictures that include their faces anywhere on the internet because they’re concerned about what may happen to their photos.”

It believes this solution may go some way to helping, and it said that early tests indicate that people are 75 percent less likely to copy a photo when the guard option is enabled.

This rollout is initially happening in India, but Facebook said it hopes to expand it to other countries “soon.”