Facebook is Testing a Feature to Prevent Profile Picture Theft


Facebook is on its way to being extinct very soon. That is profile picture theft.

Perhaps, you have had to search for an old pal on Facebook and you realise that there are many people with the same name and some with the same profile picture. It is much more ridiculous when another friend/sibling of yours sends you new friend requests while the existing Facebook profile of that person you know is still very much active.

To solve this challenge, Facebook is introducing a new feature that will ensure that your profile photo cannot be used or accessed by other people. Facebook announced the pilot program in India today.

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The feature can prevent people from downloading your profile picture, or sharing it with others, prevent people from tagging other users in profile picture or even take screenshots of your profile picture.

The protection is visible through an (optional) blue border and shield around your profile picture to indicate that it is protected. Facebook has said that this rollout is initially happening in India, but it hopes to expand it to other countries “soon”.

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This feature will be very useful in Nigeria, where many celebrities, pastors, politicians and other influential people have countless look-alike profiles on Facebook. There have been cases of reported fraud on Facebook using a replica profile and the Customs Comptroller-General picture. Then there are the countless “Pastor Adeboyes” et al, sliding into DMs of Nigerians to plead for donations.

The feature is as a result of a research conducted by facebook which showed that users (especially women in India) are worried about what could happen to their photos when used as profile pictures.

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A lot of dating websites steal pictures from social networks. Some pinch images to create sleazy Facebook albums of random women on the internet, while others use strangers’ photos to scam people.

Facebook has announced a partnership with an Indian illustrator to make these safety seal more compelling with an attractive design. We look forward to uniquely Nigerian looking designs.

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