Are Your Photos Safe? Facebook Tackles Issues

It only came to my attention recently that my photos might not be safe on Facebook. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before this point, but it truly never occurred to me that my photos would end up anywhere other than on my fairly-private Facebook pages.

It was only recently that a friend made the discovery that her photos weren’t just hers anymore. I was appalled to find out that it had been brought to her attention that one of her own personal photos had been found on a dating site, where someone else was using her photo as their own.

My first thought was ultimately disturbing, wondering what kind of person needed someone else’s face to land dates. (I, unsurprisingly, imagined a dude without a face at all. Aaaand thank-you Jeepers Creepers.) After unloading a variety of ideas on her about who might be using her photos, it finally dawned on me. Why did I assume any of my photos were safe anyways?

We can screenshot, cut, paste and save the crap out of images we find on the internet…so what was any different about clicking on a random person’s profile picture and taking it for yourself? Then it all became way too much. Luckily, it seems my friend wasn’t the only one experiencing photo theft, and the issue has finally been brought to the attention of social media monster Facebook.623imagesH6R94IQ3

What’s Being Done?

It has been reported that a new feature is in the midst for Facebook, with research about the problem being discussed and tackled in India. The pilot program is working to find ways to protect people’s images, as well as their sense of safety and self-image. (After all…who wants to be the face of Joe Bigalo Jigalo? The answer is no one.)

The feature is known as “photo guard”, and it does a few different things to protect us from face theft. These safety features include preventing others from downloading our pictures or sharing them, preventing people from tagging people in other’s profile pictures and preventing people from taking a screen shot of our profile pictures.

Unfortunately, the ability to block screen shots is only available for androids at the moment, but it’s likely the option will travel over to apple is the project goes well.

Can You Display the Protection?

When a photo guard is in place, your photo is decorated with a thin, blue border and a shield emblem at the bottom. It’s a fairly simple design, which refrains from taking away from the actual photo while simultaneously warding off photo thieves. Think of it as one of those alarm stickers homeowners put on their windows. It’s a small warning, but it’s loud and clear.

Will it Work?

Based on early tests, it’s believed that 75 percent of photo thieves will be less likely to try and steal photos if they have the photo guard emblem. At this point it’s a fairly promising number, since people all over the world are already taking down any photos that include their faces for fear of theft.

The rollout for this design is going to start in India, but the feature is likely to spread to other countries in the coming months if the feature is effective.

What do you think of this new update? Will you be utilizing the photo guard when it’s available?

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