Facebook Are Helping Keep Your Profile Picture Safe

Online abuse takes many forms, it can be done purely through messaging or commenting, or it be more elaborate. Some involve misusing profile images, to the point where some people are afraid to share any images featuring their faces online. It's been an issue since the MySpace days, but little has ever been done to combat it up to this point.

Facebook, the most likely place for this kind of abuse to occur at present, are now taking measures to deal with the problem. They've been testing a set of features in India which protect profile images from being misused by other users. As a whole, the set is called 'photo guard' and it stops things like the downloading, screenshotting and tagging of profile images by other users.

The system is optional, and can be toggled on and off directly through the profile image page. When active, the picture itself shows a blue border and a little shield thumbnail at the bottom. This is not only visible to the user in question, but to everyone who visits their profile. It may arguably have been better to keep the shield invisible to others, but in either case it's a positive step.

Facebook are also testing out new ways for people to customise and edit their profile images. Profile filters have been increasing in variety and scope for some time now, and it seems like just about every event, election and international holiday has its own bespoke filter, but apparently more can be done.

They've been experimenting with ways to add different artistic overlays to profile pictures. Such overlays aren't quite as bold or noticeable as the filters which are already out there, they seem more geared towards giving profile pictures more of an artistic flair. Facebook have also said that their research shows images with overlays are 75% less likely to be copied, and also that if someone suspects that their profile image is indeed being misused, the overlay makes this easier to confirm and deal with.

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