Facebook recently changed privacy policies to allow more detail to be shown than just the 180×180 sized user profile photo. CNET offers an overview of recent changes, plus best practices to safeguard privacy.


No matter how securely you’ve locked down your Facebook account, you can’t make your profile pic and cover photo private. Whatever Facebook’s reasons for the policy — maybe it’s just so you could verify an acquaintance’s identity before adding them as a friend — it’s long been a part of the social network. But as a privacy consolation, you used to be able to make your profile pic “unclickable,” so that nobody, not even your friends, could click on the picture and see the full-size version.

Facebook recently changed this privacy setting (without telling anyone, of course), and now your main profile picture is always clickable by anyone, even if they’re not a friend. While strangers previously saw only a 160-by-160-pixel version of your profile pic — large enough for them to determine if they knew you, but small enough to keep them from doing anything sketchy with it — now they can see the whole thing.

I don’t like this change, even though Facebook has added some privacy precautions (for example, if you set your picture to “Only Me,” strangers won’t be able to see likes, comments or photo data associated with the photo — just the photo itself). So, if you want to keep your profile pics as private as they can be, here’s what you need to do.

BEST PRACTICES – Facebook Profile photo safeguards

Step 1: Change your profile picture — One privacy precaution Facebook added is an updated cropping tool. Up until recently, the site’s cropping tool didn’t actually crop your profile picture, it just cropped your picture for the small version and displayed the full photo when you clicked on the thumbnail.

Step 2: Use a small photo — If you don’t want your high-res photo splashed all over the Internet, crop and resize it prior to uploading it. Using an imaging tool such as Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Paint, crop your photo into a square and then resize it to 180 by 180 pixels.

Step 3: Change the individual privacy settings of your current and past profile pics — By default, all of your profile pictures are public. In other words, not only can strangers view the full-size version of your current picture, they also can flip and previous profile photos that you haven’t deleted in their full-size glory. If you change it to Only Me, they will see just the photo and nothing else.