Facebook announced on Thursday it has introduced new profile picture features for users in Egypt and three other countries, to allow users, particularly women, to protect their privacy and safety.
The new Profile Picture Guard feature allows users to control how others engage with their profile picture and adds a blue border around the picture to signal it is protected.
A protected picture stops other users from downloading it, sharing it or sending it in a message, and prevents people who are not in the user’s contact list from tagging anyone in the profile picture.
“Where possible, we’ll prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook,” a Facebook press release reads.
The screenshot protection is only available for Android users.
The Profile Picture Design feature allows users to add a design to their picture, making it easier to identify misuse.
"We partnered with an illustrator who took inspiration from traditional textile designs to create designs for people to add to their profile picture," Nashwa Aly, Facebook's head of public policy for the Middle East and North Africa, told Ahram Online via e-mail.
"The ‘Profile Picture Design’ feature deters measurable copying by 75 percent when used standalone, and by 95 percent when used with the Guard. ‘Designed’ photos can be reported for photo theft, and Facebook will be able to identify the original owner," Aly said.
Facebook introduced the Profile Picture Design feature to prevent the misuse of users' profile pictures. (Photo Courtesy of Facebook)
The idea came as a way to encourage people to feature their faces in their profile pictures.
"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," Aly said.
"Women are underrepresented on the internet in Egypt today, and through our work with safety organisations in Egypt, we've heard that they want more control over their Facebook photo proﬁle," Aly added.
There are 35 million active Facebook users in Egypt, according to Facebook.
"People on Facebook will start seeing a step-by-step guide to add an optional profile picture guard and be able to access the new feature on Web, Android, MTouch, MBasic, and FBLite," the release reads.
The new features were initially launched in India last year and are now available in Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.