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Facebook pilots new tools to cut scope for misuse of profile pictures of Indian women

Team YS
23rd Jun 2017
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India ranks second with 213 million Facebook users behind the United States with 219 million users.

Based on the data shared by Facebook for the third quarter of 2016, analytics firm We Are Social pegged the women users at 24 percent.

Given the social and cultural barriers and personal safety of women in India, many don’t use their own pictures as profile pictures for the fear of safety and misuse of their images.

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In a bid to change the status quo in the interest and safety of Indian women, Facebook announced that it is piloting new tools which will allow women greater control over who can download and share their profile picture that includes their faces. 

In a blog, Aarati Soman, Product Manager at Facebook wrote, “In our research with people and safety organizations in India, 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.”

Developed in partnership with safety organizations such as Centre for Social Research and Learning Links Foundation, the tool are designed to give people more control over their experience and keep them safe online.

The new controls will disable others from being able to download, share or send a person's profile picture in a message on Facebook. Those who are not on one’s friend list will not be able to tag anyone, including themselves in the profile picture.

Aarati also shared that “where possible, we’ll prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook, which is currently available only on Android device.”

More importantly, Facebook will display a blue border and shield around the profile picture as a visual cue of protection.

“Based on preliminary tests, we’ve learned that when someone adds an extra design layer to their profile picture, other people are at least 75% less likely to copy that picture,” shared Aarti on her blog.

In the case of or suspicion of misuse, one can report to the company and they will, in turn, use the design to help determine the next steps.

Based on what the social media giant learns from its experience in India, it hopes to expand to other countries soon.

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