WhatsApp won't let under-16s use the platform in Europe


The GDPR comes into effect in May and introduces a demanding set of data privacy and security requirements on firms, with potential global reach. Article 8 of the law says European Union countries can choose where they want to set the age of consent for the processing of personal data, as long as it's between 13 and 16.

According to Ofcom around a third of 12-15-year olds in the United Kingdom use WhatsApp on a regular basis, and at the moment the Facebook-owned app doesn't ask users to verify their age. The increase in the age limit for the restricted use of the app from 13 to 16 years will apparently assist the social media giant to comply with the European General data protection regulation (GDPR).

As a result, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has chose to raise the minimum age for users of its platform to 16, across all of the European Union.

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Facebook won't be mirroring WhatsApp's new minimum age policy, though.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp will ask the European users to confirm that they are at least 16 years old when they are prompted to accept new service terms and the updated privacy policy in the upcoming weeks. While announcing about this feature, WhatsApp ensured that it will not ask for new rights for collecting personal information of users following this new update.

Those who fail to get permission from a guardian will be shown "a more generic version of Facebook" that is less reliant on personal data, the tech news site says.

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Like Twitter, Facebook's WhatsApp has also updated its privacy policy.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this saga is the fact that WhatsApp has yet to reveal how it plans to verify the age of each new subscriber, which may have a huge bearing on how things play out.

"WhatsApp cares deeply about your privacy and security". GDPR also provides users the right to have the companies delete any of their data that the users deem fit.

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Meanwhile, parent Facebook is taking a different approach to young users. If they can't do that, Facebook won't personalise their feed. In any case, the data it collects from users does not range beyond the make and model of the device that the app is installed in, contacts, groups or any blocked numbers.