Facebook has announced that it is currently testing a new tool that will protect users' profile pictures. Called Profile Picture Guard, it prevents others from copying or saving a user’s profile picture.

Facebook’s Profile Picture Guard will first be available in India as part of the social media site’s pilot program. Facebook says that it hopes it can roll out this feature to more countries “soon.”

Facebook says that these are what the profile picture guard is capable of doing when activated:

  • Other people will no longer be able to download, share or send your profile picture in a message on Facebook
  • People you’re not friends with on Facebook won’t be able to tag anyone, including themselves, in your profile picture
  • Where possible, we’ll prevent others from taking a screenshot of your profile picture on Facebook, which is currently available only on Android devices
  • We’ll display a blue border and shield around your profile picture as a visual cue of protection

A blue border and shield will be present on the profile picture if Facebook's new tool is active.

From now on, Facebook users in India will be getting step-by-step instructions on how to use the profile picture guard feature. The feature is expected to be available to all users in Indian by June 27, according to The Washington Post. The new security feature is optional, so some users can choose not to have it activated for their profile pictures.

The new security feature was made based on Facebook’s research in India. The company says that it discovered that some women in India are refusing to add profile pictures showing their faces because they are concerned about what may happen with their photos.

Facebook says that it developed the new tools in partnership with Indian safety organizations like Centre for Social Research, Learning Links Foundation, Breakthrough and Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Profile pictures are an important part of building community on Facebook because they help people find friends and create meaningful connections,” Facebook said. “But not everyone feels safe adding a profile picture.”

In addition to the new tool, Facebook is also adding the capability to add design layers to profile pictures.The company says that people are at least 75 percent less likely to copy a profile picture if it comes with an extra design layer.

This is why Facebook has partnered with illustrator Jessica Singh to make new design layers that can be added to profile pictures. The design layer on profile pictures can help Facebook determine if photos are being misused.

Facebook will also let users add extra design layers to their profile picture that could deter others from copying the photo.

Discovering that a person is actually impersonating someone else online has always been a huge problem online. It has even spawned a reality TV show on MTV called “Catfish: The TV Show.” But most social media sites haven’t done a lot to prevent it from happening.

Back in 2012, it was reported that Facebook had 83 million fake accounts, but no specifics were given on how many were impersonations. Facebook has been deleting fake accounts for years now, but it seems like it’s not enough.

Facebook’s new tool might not guarantee full protection of users’ profile pictures, but it is undoubtedly a strong start. Hopefully, other social media sites are taking notice.

Facebook's profile picture guard will first be available in India, and may arrive in other countries "soon."