Facebook Calls a Halt To Online Abusers By Introducing New Tools For Women In India

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In an attempt to make women in India feel safer on its platform, Facebook is unveiling new features. Starting Wednesday, Facebook will roll out new privacy tools in India, in which it has a massive 166 million user base. Numerous reports say that others have re-purposed their image without permission have urged the company to protect the user's profile picture further.


Online Impersonation is a commonly reported problem, and after much research, the social networking firm is addressing this issue by trying out two new tools that will give users more control over who can download or share their pictures on Facebook.

In a post written by Facebook Product Manager, Aarati Soman, who works towards the safety of women in emerging markets, she mentions that "people copy that photo and uploads it in a different place as their photo or on their timeline”.

Profile pictures are public by default and are most vulnerable to being reused without permission. The first feature is an optional profile picture guard which will put a blue border and shield around your picture as a cue of protection. On activation, others will no longer be able to download, share or tag people or themselves in the picture. The second feature will prevent other users from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook. This feature is currently available only on Android devices.

Based on the research and preliminary tests, Facebook claims that when someone adds an extra layer of design to their profile picture, it is 75 percent less likely to be copied. Facebook partnered with Jessica Singh, an illustrator who takes inspiration from traditional Indian designs such as kantha and bandhani, to create different designs for people to choose from and add to their profile picture.

“Based on what we learn from our experience in India, we hope to expand to other countries soon”, Ms Soman added.

For Facebook, the move is important as it is quite symbolic. On an average, over 40 percent of internet users have experienced harassment at one point or the other. This gross misuse of social networking sites puts more pressure on the company to zoom in on striking a balance between ‘free speech’ and cracking down on players who use their services as a way to invade the privacy of others.

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