Published: Wed, April 25, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

WhatsApp to raise minimum age to 16 over new European Union data laws

WhatsApp to raise minimum age to 16 over new European Union data laws

WhatsApp said it was not asking for any new rights to collect personal information as part of the new terms.

However, it remains unclear how WhatsApp will confirm this and enforce the new limit, as it does not now verify identity beyond its requirement for a working mobile phone number.

Two US senators, one Democrat and one Republican, introduced legislation Tuesday aimed at better protecting online privacy in response to the Facebook data scandal.

WhatsApp revealed the changes in a blog posting, in which it pointed to the imminent introduction of the tougher privacy laws.

When users in Europe log onto the app in the next few weeks, they'll be asked to confirm their age when accepting the new terms of service and an updated privacy policy. WhatsApp, for its part, has clarified that it is not seeking any new rights to access personal information of users to comply with GDPR rules.

WhatsApp users in Europe will now have to be at least 16 years of age to use the platform.

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Kershaw believes that if the age limits are being instigated over concerns of exposure to inappropriate content or advertising, it is other networking sites that should be raising the minimum age.

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect May 25 and is the biggest shake-up of privacy rules since the birth of the internet.

WhatsApp reiterated that it is "not now sharing account information to improve your product and ads experience on Facebook".

The company said it plans to keep the over-13 age restriction in the rest of the world.

GDPR-related changes across the platforms including Instagram, Oculus and Facebook itself will arrive. If you are between 13 and 15 years of age, you will be required to nominate a parent or a guardian to give permission to share information on the social media network. You'll see a download button at the top of the page that allows you to get a plain text version if you prefer.

According to GDPR, the Europeans can ask the social media platforms to delete their personal data available with them.

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