Facebook used to let users make their profile pictures unclickable. However, as pointed out by an article in CNET this week, that is no longer the case. That means that anyone, even Facebook users who are not your friends, can click on your profile photo and see a full-sized version.
Unfortunately, truly securing your profile photo isn’t as simple as it seems. Even when you change your privacy settings for the photo to “Only Me” (which is still recommended), that only prevents people from seeing likes, comments and other info associated with the pic. However, there’s still a way to add some protections.
First, check out your current profile photo. Facebook recently introduced a new cropping feature that crops both the thumbnail version of the image on your profile and the actual image itself. However, before the update, the site’s cropping tool only edited the thumbnail. That means that if your profile picture is old, people may be able to click on it and see the full-sized version. If that’s the case, you can take the photo down, re-upload it and crop it properly. You should also upload photos that are small and low resolution. That way, even if they are stolen, they won’t be much use to the person stealing it.
Also, keep in mind that your profile picture and cover photo are public by default, and this setting can’t be changed. For maximum privacy, it’s best to use generic, non-identifying photos.
While these safety tips can’t prevent your photos being stolen, they can make it harder and less appealing for cybercriminals to grab.