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Facebook is using new tools in India to stop profile photo theft

Facebook is piloting new tools in India to stop people from stealing users' profile pictures, along with new designs that can be added to those images.

Published onJune 22, 2017

Facebook now has over 1 billion users worldwide, and it has become a major way for people to communicate and share experiences with others. However, there are concerns in some countries about the outside use of profile pictures when they are uploaded to a person’s Facebook account, especially for women. This week, Facebook announced they are trying out a new set of tools in India designed to keep profile images from being downloaded and copied.

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The optional profile guard tools, when applied to images uploaded to Facebook, will keep those images from being downloaded, shared or sent via a message by others. If a person is not your Facebook friend, the new tools won’t allow him or her to tag anyone, including themselves, in a profile picture. In addition, the tools will prevent screenshots of profile images if they are displayed on an Android device.

Any profile picture that has these extra protections will be indicated by a blue border and shield around the image. Also, Facebook is allowing people in India to choose from a number of designs, based on Indian textile patterns, that can be added to profile pictures. Early results show that other people are at least 75 percent less likely to copy that picture if such a design is put into place.

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Facebook says that if this trial period in India is successful, it plans to roll out these image guard tools to other countries. Hopefully they will be a deterrent to anyone who might want to copy and use these photos without the consent of their owners.