Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in Napier Lopez is a writer based in New York City. He's interested in all things tech, science, and photography related, and likes to yo-yo in his free time. Follow him on Twitter.
Not everyone feels comfortable sharing every bit of their lives to social media. Some people aren’t even comfortable uploading a profile photo for fear of them being misused, but now Facebook is trying to give users a bit more peace of mind.
The company is testing a new feature in India that allows you to add an extra degree of protection to your profile photo. Tap on your profile photo and select “turn on profile picture guard.” In the company’s own words, once activated:
- Other people will no longer be able to download, share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook
- People you’re not friends with on Facebook won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture
- Where possible, we’ll prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook, which is currently available only on Android devices
- We’ll display a blue border and shield around your profile picture as a visual cue of protection
Posted by Facebook Safety on Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Profile (and cover) photos are normally forcibly public on Facebook, so this gives users a bit more flexibility for adding a profile photo without worrying that every passing creep will try to share it with someone or keep it in some creeptastic collection.
Well can’t they just take a screenshot (if not on Android) or use a camera? Of course. But much like Snapchat’s screenshot alert, the point is deterring misuse, not stopping it completely.
Also notable, Facebook found it could also deter misuse by applying overlay filters:
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.
Think of it kind of like a stock photo with a watermark – nobody wants to steal those.
I still think Facebook could solve a lot of trouble by simply letting you hide your profile photo altogether from strangers, or at least keep it to the smaller thumbnail size.
Even changing the privacy setting to be visible by “only me” simply hides details like comments and the date. The public still gets a full view of whatever you end up uploading.
But hey, it’s a step forward. The feature will remain limited to India for now, but Facebook says it hopes to expand it to other countries soon.
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