Facebook is rolling out Profile Picture protection to stop downloading and misuse

facebook profile picture

It is common knowledge that there are people out there, whose definition of time well spent, is downloading photos from other people’s Facebook profile picture to open parody accounts. It is a problem shared among Facebook users around the world.

In India, it has come to Facebook’s knowledge that a significant number of women (more than in other world regions) decide not to upload any pictures of their face to the internet. The social network in collaboration with the Indian social and safety organizations has come up with new protection mechanism on a pilot program.

Facebook, in a bid to deter people from downloading, sharing, and copying other users profile pictures, has set up a mechanism to block downloading of people’s images. The social network hopes this move will at least reduce such behaviors.

Users who want the protection will get a blue shield overlay on their profile picture; which will bar people from downloading images from other users’ accounts. Test conducted by Facebook and other partners in India show that this new feature will discourage people from downloading images off other profile.

This tool is currently available only in India on a pilot basis; there are indications to indicate Facebook will roll it out worldwide.


As of now, people can bypass the tool protection by simply taking screenshots on their Android devices, or using their laptop or desktop computer. However, the screenshot image will still have the blue visual cue protection, and it will make it a little bit harder for one to use the picture.

Nonetheless, the pilot phase has run a test and established that even a small overlay on a person’s profile picture deters others from downloading. In other instances, the overlay reduced cases of one’s profile picture being downloaded by as much as 75%.

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