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WhatsApp could soon protect your profile photos even better from stalkers

The app is currently testing a feature that blocks the ability to take screenshots of profile photos.
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Published onFebruary 20, 2024

Holding smartphone with WhatsApp logo on the screen Stock photo
TL;DR
  • WhatsApp is testing a privacy feature that blocks the ability to take screenshots of profile photos.
  • This feature would work alongside other existing privacy features, such as restricting your profile photos to only your contacts, and would prevent unauthorized use of profile photos.

With the number of people using WhatsApp daily, it’s no surprise that some bad actors find ways to take undue advantage of the platform. Profile photo abuse is one of the most common annoyances, wherein people download your profile photo for nefarious reasons. The platform has taken plenty of steps to make this difficult, and a new report suggests it could soon add a final nail to this coffin and solve the problem for good.

According to WABetaInfo, WhatsApp is rolling out a new privacy feature to beta testers. This feature blocks screenshots of profile photos.

Soon, WhatsApp could restrict the ability to take screenshots of the profile picture. When attempting to do so, the app will block the action and inform the user that they cannot take a screenshot.

The report does not mention this, but we believe WhatsApp could be using the Flag_Secure window attribute that treats the window’s content as secure. When apps use this attribute, the Android system blocks screenshots and screen recordings of that window. There are still ways you can get past this, but it does make it significantly difficult as compared to simply taking a screenshot.

WhatsApp has added other measures to safeguard profile photos. Profile photos were once easily downloadable, but that ability has long been removed. Users also have the option to display their profile photo to either nobody, their contacts, some of their contacts (through a denylist), or everyone. The same options are available for the last seen and online status indicators, about page, and status updates. Restricting screenshots will go a long way in preventing bad actors from sharing or using someone else’s photos without their consent.

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