The social network is piloting a scheme that makes it harder for scammers to steal and misuse profile pictures.
(CCM) — Facebook has begun piloting tools designed to stop scammers from downloading profile pictures and misusing them for malicious purposes, such as creating fake accounts, the company has announced in a blog post.
The main tool is called "picture guard." When this is activated, people will no longer be able to download, share, or send a user's profile picture in a message on Facebook. In addition, people who are not the user's friend on Facebook will not be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in the user's profile picture.
Where possible, the tool will also prevent people from taking a screenshot of a protected profile picture on Facebook. However, for technical reasons this capability is only possible on Android devices. Profile pictures that are protected by picture guard will be displayed with a blue border and shield as a visual clue that the pictures have been protected, and also to indicate that the user does not want their picture copied.
Facebook research suggests that when a user adds an extra design layer to their profile picture, it is at least 75% less likely to be copied and misused. For that reason, Facebook has also commissioned an illustrator to create some designs that can be added to profile pictures.
The pilot is being run in India, but the company plans to expand it to other countries soon.