Last year we piloted new tools that give people in India more control over who can download and share their profile pictures. We are now expanding these tools to Pakistan.
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, 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 are being used widely in India. We are expanding to additional countries where we’ve heard, similar to India, that people want more control over 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.
People will start seeing a step-by-step guide to add an optional profile picture guard. When you add this guard:
- Facebook’s download and share features will be disabled for your profile picture
- People you’re not friends with on Facebook won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture
- We’ll prevent Android devices from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook
- We’ll display a blue border and shield around your profile picture as a visual cue of protection
Nashwa Aly, Head of Policy, Middle East and Africa, Facebook: “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 Pakistan, 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. This launch is part of our ongoing commitment to keeping people safe online.”
Nighat Dad, Digital Rights Foundation: “Statistics from our Cyber Harassment Helpline, show that women are the most vulnerable when it comes to online safety in Pakistan. From fake profiles to doctored images to harassment, women face very real risks online. Facebook’s new Profile Picture Guard is a great tool to help women reclaim their online space. It will let women take control of their identities online and help them to start a larger discourse of countering online gendered harassment.”