Facebook may have thousands of users but they’re not all real people. A lot of profiles on Facebook are fake; some are used to catfish people while others are used to impersonate and steal identities. Often, people who create fake profiles will download pictures from real account. It’s usually the profile picture that downloaded and used to create a fake account. These accounts target people you know. To combat these fake profiles, and to counter the misuse of profile pictures, Facebook introduced Profile Picture Guard last year.
Profile Picture Guard prevents people from downloading and/or sharing your profile picture. It also prevents other people from tagging you in photos. The feature is opt-in. When we tested the feature, it seemed to work only if your profile picture was one that was actually you i.e. there had to be a person/face in the photo. Profile pictures that have, for example, kittens will not do.
Enable Profile Picture Guard
You can enable profile picture guard from Facebook web. Visit Facebook on your desktop browser and go to your profile. Click your profile picture. The aim is to open the picture in Facebook’s image viewer.
On the image viewer, click the Options button at the bottom right.
In the Options menu, look for the Turn On Profile Picture Guard option, and click it. Facebook will ask you to upload a new profile picture or it will use the current one provided it features an actual face. This is necessary because Facebook uses face recognition to identify photos of you that are being misused or being used as profile pictures by other profiles.
Once you’ve selected a photo, Facebook will enable Profile Picture Guard. To confirm that Profile Picture Guard has been enabled, go to your Facebook profile. Your profile picture should have a badge icon at the bottom.
Once enabled, anyone, even a friend or relative you’ve added on Facebook will not be able to right-click on the image and save it.
While Profile Picture Guard will prevent people from saving your picture, a public picture can still be viewed and a screenshot can be taken. If someone uses a screenshot of your profile picture, Facebook will be able to detect it when it is used. It will likely alert you to the inappropriate use and block the profile as well. This is where the Face recognition technology comes in.
It’s worth mentioning that while this feature is good for privacy, it does push users to upload their actual photos in order to protect their identity online.
The feature is not available in the US. It’s prime target appears to be countries in South Asia.