Facebook has new tools in place to protect users, starting with women in India, aiming to make them feel safer on its social media platform.
With that in mind, Facebook introduced guarded photos, which prevents other users from accessing and using one's profile photo. This feature aims to give some peace of mind to users, especially women, who are concerned that others might download and use their profile photo.
Facebook Tools To Protect Women In India
The social network is running a pilot program in India to give users more control over who can access, download and share their profile images. Profile photos are typically visible even to users who are not in one's friends list, but not everyone is comfortable with this.
Facebook has conducted some research in India and found that some users, particularly women, were not comfortable uploading profile photos of themselves out of fear that they might be misused or distributed more widely. As a result, they'd upload photos of something else, which made it harder for others to find them on the social network.
Facebook India Preventing Image Misuse
"Profile pictures are an important part of building community on Facebook because they help people find friends and create meaningful connections," Facebook notes. "But not everyone feels safe adding a profile picture. 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."
With this in mind, Facebook implemented a number of safety features. Guarded photos prevent others from downloading one's profile photo, or sharing it with others. At the same time, Facebook is also preventing people from tagging other people in a user's profile photo if they're not friends, and it's also preventing other people from taking a screenshot of a user's profile photo (Android-only for now).
This profile photo guard is entirely optional and users may choose to activate it or not. Those who do choose to enable this option will see their profile photo with a blue border and a shield around it, indicating that it's protected. To ensure that guarded photos don't have a negative impact on a photo's aesthetics, Facebook worked with an Indian illustrator to make them more attractive.
Facebook Profile Picture Guard: Does It Work?
Facebook notes that its preliminary tests revealed that adding an extra design layer to a Facebook profile photo makes others at least 75 percent less likely to copy that image.
The social network hopes that these additional measures will help users feel more secure and protected on the platform so that they will no longer avoid uploading photos of themselves out of fear that they will be misused.
Facebook adds that depending on how things go with this pilot program in India, it hopes to expand these additional privacy features to more countries worldwide. For now, guarded photos are not available in any other market except for India.
Would you feel more comfortable uploading a Facebook profile photo of yourself knowing that these features would guard it against misuse? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.