WhatsApp to raise minimum age limit to 16 in EU
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 is not clear how the age limit will be verified.
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 protections 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.
It will also be allowing all users to download a report detailing the data it holds on them as part of its new terms of service.
That could include the make and model of the device they use, their contacts and groups and any blocked numbers.
Facebook, which has also been criticised for its handling of personal data, is taking a different approach to younger users.
To comply with GDPR, the social network is asking those aged 13 to 15 to nominate a parent or guardian to give permission for them to share information on the platform.
If they do not, they will not see a fully personalised version of the platform.