WhatsApp increases European Union age limit to 16 as GDPR approaches

Almost 1.9 billion non-EU international users outside of the US and Canada would be protected by GDPR under current rules. This image shows privacy and ad preference menus added to Facebook

For example, WhatsApp will now let users download a report detailing the sort of data that the app holds on them.

According to Ofcom around a third of 12-15-year olds in the United Kingdom use WhatsApp on a regular basis, and at the moment the Facebook-owned app doesn't ask users to verify their age.

It said that WhatsApp has established an entity within the European Union to provide services in this region and "to meet the new high standards of transparency for how we protect the privacy of our users".

The GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and aims to reshape the way organisations across the Europe approach data privacy.

WhatsApp would soon be increasing the minimum age limit for its users to sixteen throughout Europe.

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.

Klobuchar said: "Consumers should have the right to control their personal data and that means allowing them to opt out of having their data collected and tracked..."

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However, it plans to continue with its age limit of 13 in the rest of the world.

The social media platform has also continued to come under scrutiny over its decision to share users' phone numbers and other information with Facebook to help target ads more effectively- a step that was later suspended by the company after European regulators tried to block it.

Tech giants including Apple, Inc. plan to give people in the United States and elsewhere the same privacy protections and rights that Europeans will gain post-GDPR.

Rather than offer that second option, WhatsApp's new Terms of Service suggest a blanket rule which is that you either have to be 16 or you will be banned.

Apart from this, the company, which has a data policy of its own, will also be giving the users an option of downloading a copy of their user data from WhatsApp.

While GDPR has been in the making for some time, things did pick up steam in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that its parent firm Facebook has found itself embroiled in.

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