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WhatsApp introduces feature to prevent screenshots of profile pictures

This step by WhatsApp reflects an effort to mitigate the risks associated with impersonation and harassment

WhatsApp has introduced a new feature in its beta version to enhance the protection of users’ profile pictures. Previously, the platform allowed users to hide their profile pictures from strangers, but there was no mechanism to prevent others from taking screenshots of these images. Recent reports suggest that this is about to change.

In a proactive move, WhatsApp now goes beyond merely disabling the option to save or download profile pictures. According to a report by WABetaInfo, the messaging giant is preventing users from taking screenshots within the app. This feature is currently available in the WhatsApp beta app for Android users. When attempting to capture a screenshot of a profile picture, a warning message on a black screen appears, stating, “Can’t take a screenshot due to app restrictions.” The goal is to discourage unauthorized users from capturing and potentially sharing profile pictures without consent.

This step by WhatsApp reflects an effort to mitigate the risks associated with impersonation and harassment. Although the screenshot block feature is currently limited to a select group of beta testers, indications suggest that it will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks.

Similar features are already present on other photo-sharing platforms like Snapchat and payment apps such as Paytm and Google Pay. These features restrict users from taking screenshots, particularly in scenarios involving personal or financial information.

While this update adds an extra layer of protection, it’s important to recognize that no security measure is entirely foolproof. Despite restricting screenshot functionality, individuals can still explore alternative methods, such as using a secondary device to capture profile pictures.

In addition to enhancing profile picture security, the Meta-owned messaging app is actively working on a dedicated fact-checking chatbot to address the challenges posed by deepfakes and AI-generated misinformation.

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