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The profile picture is one of the first and most noticeable features of one’s Facebook profile. But, over the years, Facebook has learned that it is easy to download anyone’s picture and make use of the same to build false profiles and find excitement in this abusive act.

Thus, it has today announced the launch of a pilot program, kicking off in India, which enables you to exercise more control over who can access your profile picture. This feature, which has been designed for the extra-conservative privacy freaks, means they will be able to define who can download and share their profile pictures.

With the use of new security tools, being debuted today, you’ll be upgrading your profile picture with a ‘photo guard’ that’ll be able to protect your identity from abuse on the platform. Facebook has learned that adding an extra filtered layer to the profile reduces the chances of abuse of the picture by a huge 75 percent. Thus, the social media giant has joined hands with an illustrator, Jessica Singh, who’s helping them design India-focused filters for profile pictures.

Aarati Soman, Product Manager at Facebook in a statement talks about this process as under:

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.

Starting today, when you proceed to change your profile picture on Facebook, it will be protected in three very specific ways. It will first accent your profile picture with a blue border and add a ‘shield’ batch at the bottom to notify the platform and others that the profile is protected. Further, the abuse is being prevented via the following three pointers:

  • Facebook will prevent other people from being able to download, share or send your profile picture.
  • People not on your Facebook friend list won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture.
  • It will also prevent others from taking a screenshot of your Facebook profile picture. The feature is currently available only on Android devices due to permission restriction on iOS.

Though the pilot program to prevent identity abuse is being debuted with India, where forgery and privacy-related issues prevail, but feedback from the same will help them build upon this feature and expand it other locations. The social media giant partnered with Indian safety organizations like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough, and Youth Ki Awaaz for the development of these security tools.

Speaking on the same, :

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.

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