Upcoming Facebook feature prevents profile pictures from being stolen

A mock-up of Facebook's new profile picture guard.
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook is currently testing out a new feature that will help prevent profile pictures from being stolen and misused.

The platform is currently trying out this feature in India and have been working on it for the past year.

The feature is called Profile Picture Guard and it was inspired by FB users in India who wanted to have more control on who can download their profile pictures.

When turned on, a thin blue border will appear around the profile picture, as well as a little shield icon at the bottom.

This essentially removes the option for other users to download, share or send a profile picture.

The current version also has other functions like disallowing people that a user is not friends with to tag themselves on a profile photo. It also prevents screenshots from being taken.

However, the functions is only available for Android users at the moment.

Misuse deterrent

Research has found that adding an extra layer of design to a profile picture makes it 75 per cent less likely to be stolen or copied.

For this approach, the Facebook partnered with illustrator Jessica Singh to design borders for profile pictures which were inspired by traditional Indian textile designs.

If a user suspects that someone is using their profile photo for identity fraud, these borders and the Profile Picture Guard will help in determining whether or not Facebook admins need to kick someone out of the FB community.

Profile Picture Guard is still exclusive to India, but Facebook is hoping to offer this function to users from other countries soon.