• The new European General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect next month.
  • WhatsApp is making important changes to how it handles users’ data and will raise its minimum age requirement to 16.
  • It is unclear if the age check will simply be a self-reporting process.

As per new data privacy rules coming into effect next month, WhatsApp is raising its minimum age from 13 to 16 in Europe.

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The new European General Data Protection Regulation comes into effect next month, and accordingly, WhatsApp is raising its minimum age. For those of you in Europe, the Facebook-owned messaging app will now require you to confirm that you are at least 16 years of age, whether you have the app already installed or are installing it for the first time. You will also need to agree to the new terms of service and privacy policy. The minimum age will remain 13 for the rest of the world. It is unclear if the age check will simply be a self-reporting process.

The real change coming out of the new law is that Europeans now have “the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have it deleted,” as Reuters puts it. For example, WhatsApp will now let users download a report detailing the sort of data that the app holds on them. With the recent Facebook data scandal, European scrutiny on the social media giant and its subsidiary services has increased substantially. This combined with the new law may force companies like Facebook to be more transparent when it comes to data collection.

Facebook itself will continue to have a separate data policy under the new law, and in terms of the age requirement, it is taking a slightly different approach. 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.

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