WhatsApp

The renowned messaging platform owned by Facebook Inc, WhatsApp, is increasing its minimum age in Europe from 13 to 16 to help it comply with the new data privacy rules coming into force in the next month.

WhatsApp would ask the European users to confirm that they are at least 16 years old when they are prompted to agree to the new terms of service and a privacy policy extended by a new WhatsApp Ireland Ltd entity in the next few weeks. It is unclear as to how or if the age limit would be checked given the limited data requested and held by the service.

Facebook that has a separate data policy is taking a different approach to the teens aged in between 13 and 15 to comply with the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law. It requires nomination of a parent or a guardian to permit for the teens to share the information on the platform without which they would not visualize a complete personalized version of the social media platform.

According to Facebook, WhatsApp that had more than 1.5 billion users in January, said in a blog post that it was not asking for any new rights to collect personal information in the agreement that it has created for the European Union. It said that their goal is merely to explain as to how they use and protect the limited information they have about their users.

WhatsApp, founded in the year 2009, has got under pressure from some European governments in the recent years due to its end-to-end encrypted messaging system and its plan to share more information on Facebook.

Facebook is under scrutiny from the lawmakers and the regulators around the world since disclosing last month that the personal data of millions of users ended up wrongly in the hands of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off broader concerns regarding how it handles user information.

Since the birth of the internet, GDPR is the most significant overhaul of online privacy, giving the Europeans the right to know as to what information is stored on them and the right to have it removed. Apple Inc and some of the other technology firms have said that they plan to give the people in the United States and elsewhere similar rights and protections that the Europeans would gain.

The European regulators already have disrupted a move by WhatsApp to change its policies to let it share users’ phone numbers and other data with Facebook to improve the product and target ads more efficiently.

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