Facebook testing 'profile picture guard' feature that prevents sleazy photo theft
Facebook's new 'Profile Picture Guard' feature makes your profile photos much harder to steal. Photo courtesy of Facebook
Photo theft is a big problem on Facebook, and the social network is finally doing a little something to combat it. Starting with its users in India, the Silicon Valley company is testing a feature called 'Profile Picture Guard,' which prevents other people from saving or even taking a screenshot of your profile pic.
As the headline suggests, Profile Picture Guard is still in the testing phase. In fact, it's currently only available to users in India, the country that Facebook says inspired the feature.
'In our research with people and safety organizations in India, we’ve heard 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,' explains Facebook. So they designed a little peace of mind.
Here's a look at how it works:
As you can see, the feature works in four ways. (1) It prevents people from saving, sharing, or (Android only for now) taking a screenshot of your photo. (2) It allows only you and your Facebook friends to tag the photo. (3) It adds a blue border and shield icon to your photo, indicating it's 'protected.' And (4) if you so choose, you can overlay a watermark design across the entire shot.
Combine all 4 deterrents, and its far less likely you'll find your profile pic on some random website. How much less likely? Facebook did some testing:
'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.'
Facebook 'hopes' to expand the feature to other countries soon. For our part, we hope they expand its scope even sooner. Protecting your profile picture from saving, sharing, and screenshots is a great first step; however, for the photographers out there, this kind of universal feature for all of their photos at once – or perhaps available for individual albums – would be a game-changer.
The ease with which photo thieves can filch photos off of social media sites like Facebook is one of the main reasons photographers choose to stay away. Profile Picture Guard is a small step in the right direction; a broader Picture Guard would be a giant leap.
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