WhatsApp To Raise Minimum Age Limit For Users To 16

Popular messaging service WhatsApp is banning under-16s from using its platform in the European Union.

WhatsApp

Users must currently be at least 13, but the firm is changing the rules ahead of the introduction of new EU data privacy regulations in May.

The app, which is owned by Facebook, will ask users to confirm their age when prompted to agree new terms of service in the next few weeks.

It has not said how the age limit will be enforced.

The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May, will give people much more control over how companies use their information.

They will also have the right to have personal data erased.

It also includes specific rules to protect children from having their personal data collected for marketing purposes, or to create user profiles.

WhatsApp, which has faced scrutiny for its data sharing practices in the past, said its move would help it meet the “new high standards of transparency” in the EU.

However, the app plans to keep its age limit at 13 in the rest of the world.

Most social media apps – including Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Musical.ly and Reddit – are restricted to those aged 13 and over.

This is in part because a US law – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (Coppa) – bans online services from collecting personal information about younger children.

Facebook did, however, launch Messenger Kids, which is targeted at children as young as six, last December. It is an ad-free service designed to be compliant with Coppa.

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