Facebook debuts new tools to keep your profile photos from being stolen

In an effort to put an end to catfishing and other abuses of stolen profile photos, Facebook has introduced a new photo guard and photo designs to deter misuse.

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In an effort to curb the theft and misuse of its users' profile photos, Facebook has introduced new image controls and tools to give people more control over their images. The program, announced in a press release on Wednesday, will initially roll out in a pilot program to users in India.

According to the release, Facebook has been working on the features for roughly a year or so. And the firm has specifically targeted the Indian market based on feedback from users.

"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," the release said.

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The core functionality is a new set of tools that offer more granular control over how other users can interact with your photo. If certain features are enacted, other internet users won't be able to download or share your profile photo, or send it in a message, the release said.

If you aren't friends with someone on Facebook, they will not be able to tag anyone in your profile picture with the new controls either, the release said. The firm is also working on ways to prevent other users from screenshotting your profile image as well, the release said. If the new tools are in use on a given photo, it will have a blue border and shield around it.

According to the release, Facebook is also adding a new design layer that can be added to profile pictures. Based on testing the firm has conducted, the use of such a design could make others 75% less likely to copy that picture.

The new tools will help individual users fight against online behavior like catfishing, but it could also help businesses and brands better protect copyrighted images they are using in their profile.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new set of tools from Facebook aims to make it easier for users to protect their profile image and control how it is accessed.
  2. Other users won't be able to download or share your image, or send it in a message. Non-Facebook friends won't be able to tag anyone in your profile picture either.
  3. A new design layer that can be added to photos will also deter users from trying to copy that photo.

Also see

Image: Facebook

By Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.