One of the most common concerns to Middle Eastern Facebook users -especially women- is the privacy of their profile pictures and since Facebook always has a firm grasp on their users’ needs they released a new feature that would end this dilemma, the Profile Picture Guard! So in order for us to have the full picture, we had a chat with Nashwa Aly, Head of Public Policy for the Middle East & North Africa, and got to know everything about the new feature.
What inspired your team to create this feature?
Keeping our community safe is at the core of everything we do, and is one of our five areas of focus as we help build a global community. We look to safety experts, academic researchers, NGOs, human rights activists, policymakers, for their expertise and guidance about online safety, finding that by working cooperatively we have been able to do so much more to protect all those who use Facebook.
In our research with both individuals 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.
The creation of the Profile Picture Guard and Design is part of our ongoing commitment to keeping people safe online and giving them more control over who can download and share their profile pictures. We first launched these tools in India, followed by Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and are continuing to launch them more broadly as we learn about how people are using them.
How does it work and how will people not be able to take screenshots? How will you make the feature user-friendly for the Facebook community?
Users can follow an easy step-by-step guide in their News Feed when they sign into Facebook. On their proﬁle page, they can tap on the proﬁle picture for more options, where one can turn on/oﬀ these features easily.
Protected pictures will feature a blue border and shield that wraps around users’ current profile picture. Following this, other people will no longer be able to download (with the download button, right click or long tap save), share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook. The picture is also protected such that people not on the user’s friend list will not be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in the profile picture. Facebook also prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook on Android devices.
Is the feature available on IOS and Android? if not, when will it be available for both users?
The feature is currently available on Web, Android, MTouch, MBasic, and FBLite platforms, and will roll out on iOS in due course.
How do you think this feature is empowering to women who have privacy problems with the social media?
The Profile Picture Design feature also deters measurable copying by 75% when used standalone, and by 95% when used with the Guard. ‘Designed’ photos can be reported for photo theft and Facebook will be able to identify the original owner.
We want to help women feel comfortable adding pictures of themselves, so that they may successfully ﬁnd connections, build a community, and do great things on Facebook. With the introduction of Profile Picture Guard and Design, along with our effective reporting mechanisms and privacy tools, we hope to empower women to have greater control over the information they see and what others see about them on Facebook.