Next month the EU is rolling out new privacy rules dubbed GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and that could have a big impact on some tech companies, including WhatsApp, which has announced that ahead of the rules coming into effect users in Europe now need to be 16 or older.
That’s up from the previous age requirement of 13, which still applies to the rest of the world. Notably, this change seems to affect all countries in WhatsApp’s ‘European Region’, not just those in the EU.
The changes are already listed on WhatsApp’s site, and according to Sky News, WhatsApp will ask users to accept new terms of service in the coming weeks, and as part of that, they’ll have to confirm that they’re at least 16.
It’s not yet clear how WhatsApp will verify a user’s age, but we imagine it will probably be reliant on honesty.
GDPR also requires greater transparency from companies as to what data they collect and how it’s used, and as such WhatsApp will also be allowing users to download and see that data in the coming weeks. That’s a change that will be coming worldwide.
Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, is working on similar transparency changes, though it’s also moving the data of 1.5 billion users to avoid them falling under the new rules.