Facebook has announced that it will pilot new privacy tools to provide people in India with an enriching experience while using the social media platform. The decision was taken after the realisation that a lot of women avoid putting a profile picture on Facebook fearing they will get downloaded and circulated.

“In our research with people and safety organisations in India, we have heard that some women choose not to share profile pictures that include their faces anywhere on the internet because they are concerned about what may happen to their photos,” said Aarati Soman, Product Manager at Facebook, in a post on Wednesday.

Soman also said that other people will no longer be able to download, share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook. People who are not on your friend list won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture.

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Facebook also plans to implement the same in other countries after monitoring responses in India. One of the important steps it will take is to display a blue border and shield around the profile picture to deter its misuse.

“If someone suspects that a picture marked with one of these designs is being misused, they can report it to Facebook and we will use the design to help determine whether it should be removed from our community”, she added.

Facebook profile picture
Facebook profile picture
Image credits: Facebook newsroom

With an objective of safeguarding people from online predators, the social media giant has collaborated with Indian safety organisations like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz to design these tools.

Facebook’s endeavour is garnering a lot of praise. For instance, Kerala Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, appreciated Facebook for devising this strategy to ensure women’s online safety in India.

He hoped other social media companies and internet service providers will also work towards this goal of safeguarding women in the online space.

It is good to see Facebook offering some great solutions to combat the problem of dearth of women’s online safety.

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