By Aarati Soman, Product Manager
Part of our goal in building global community is understanding the needs of people who use Facebook in specific countries and how we can better serve them. In India, we’ve heard that people want more control over their profile pictures, and we’ve been working over the past year to understand how we can help.
Today, we are piloting new tools that give people in India more control over who can download and share their profile pictures. In addition, we’re exploring ways people can more easily add designs to profile pictures, which our research has shown helpful in deterring misuse. Based on what we learn from our experience in India, we hope to expand to other countries soon.
Profile pictures are an important part of building community on Facebook because they help people find friends and create meaningful connections. 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.
These tools, developed in partnership with Indian safety organizations like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz, are designed to give people more control over their experience and help keep them safe online.
People in India will start seeing a step-by-step guide to add an optional profile picture guard. When you add this guard:
- Other people will no longer be able to download, share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook
- People you’re not friends with on Facebook won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture
- Where possible, we’ll prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook, which is currently available only on Android devices
- We’ll display a blue border and shield around your profile picture as a visual cue of protection
Based on preliminary tests, we’ve learned that when someone adds an extra design layer to their profile picture, other people are at least 75% less likely to copy that picture.
If someone suspects that a picture marked with one of these designs is being misused, they can report it to Facebook and we will use the design to help determine whether it should be removed from our community.