Facebook’s new safety feature for women in India: Easily lock the account from strangers

Facebook’s new safety feature for women in India: Easily lock the account from strangers

Facebook has rolled out a new safety feature in India that will enable users to easily lock their account so that people they are not friends with on the platform cannot view their posts and zoom into and download their profile picture and cover photo.

The feature is especially aimed at women to give them more control over their Facebook experience, the company said. “We are deeply aware of the concerns people in India, particularly women, have about protecting their online profile,” said Ankhi Das, Public Policy Director at Facebook India, in a statement.

Locking the profile applies multiple existing privacy settings and several new measures to a user’s Facebook profile in a few taps, the company said. Once a user has locked their account, people they are not friends with will no longer be able to see photos and posts — both historic and new — and zoom into, share, and download profile pictures and cover photos.

“We have often heard from young girls that they are hesitant to share about themselves online and are intimidated by the idea of someone misusing their information. I am very happy to see that Facebook is making efforts to learn about their concerns and building products that can give them the experience they want. This new safety feature will give women, especially young girls a chance to express themselves freely,” said Ranjana Kumari, Director at New Delhi-based women advocacy group Centre for Social Research, in a statement.

A user can lock the account by tapping on More under their name, then tapping the Lock Profile button and the confirmation button that prompts afterward.

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, this feature was available to users in Bangladesh, a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The new feature appears to be an extension of a similar effort Facebook made in 2017 in India to combat catfishing. That feature, called Profile Picture Guard, allowed users to protect their profile picture from being zoomed into and shared by their friends and those not in the friend list.

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