whatsApp is raising its minimum age requirement from 13 to 16 in a bid to comply with new data privacy rules coming into force in Europe next month.
WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, isn’t excluding under 16-year-old users. In an effort to comply with GDPR, Facebook is asking users aged 13 to 15 to nominate a parent or guardian to give permission on their behalf. If they can’t do that, Facebook won’t personalise their feed.
It’s not quite clear how WhatsApp plans to enforce its 16-or-over rule. The service currently doesn’t request much user data and, according to a blog post, it doesn’t plan to ask for any new rights so it can collect more personal information
“We are not asking for new rights to collect personal information with this update,” the post explains. “Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you.”
With that in mind, if all a user has to do to confirm their age is tick a box, it’s not really meeting the requirements of GDPR. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many services and websites I lied about my age to when I was a young internet user. In fact, I’m almost certain I regularly used MySpace and MSN Messenger under the age of 13.
So why is WhatsApp even bothering to comply with GDPR when it’s not even collecting your user data nor reading your messages? Other than having to comply if it wants to keep running services in Europe, WhatsApp has stated that it plans to work closer with its parent company Facebook in the future. It’s not yet clear how that will take shape, but it’ll undoubtedly make use of the information it knows about you to help provide relevant advertising on Facebook services.
“We are not currently sharing account information to improve your product and ads experience on Facebook,” the post explains as it outlines WhatsApp’s data sharing policy. “As we have said in the past, we want to work closer with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans.”
WhatsApp also states that it’s going to begin allowing users to download the data it holds about them, letting you see just what they know about you. Facebook already offers this service, and it’s most certainly an eye-opening one.
Compared to Facebook, WhatsApp doesn’t know all that much about you. However, the information it holds on your mobile device, contacts, blocked numbers and your own number is certainly valuable to Facebook – and any advertisers who might be interested in targeting specific groups of people.
Following the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), WhatsApp has decided to raise the minimum age requirement for its users in the UK and Europe. This decision is in line with GDPR guidelines that aim to safeguard children’s privacy and data.
Under GDPR rules, marketing to children under 13 years old is prohibited. Moreover, online platforms and services are obligated to verify users ages appropriately. In order to comply with these regulations, WhatsApp has increased its minimum age requirement from 13 to 16 years old.
WhatsApp has implemented various strategies, including advanced artificial intelligence systems, to ensure compliance with GDPR guidelines by detecting potential underage users on their platform. Additionally, they have established a dedicated team responsible for addressing any concerns or reports regarding minors using their service.
Although this age increase may cause inconvenience for some users, it’s essential to understand that GDPR compliance is a legal obligation. Failing to adhere could lead to significant penalties for companies. As WhatsApp operates as a European based service, it falls under the jurisdiction of GDPR regulations and must take appropriate measures to protect children’s data.
It’s still uncertain how this increase in age will impact the user base of WhatsApp, particularly since the company has always positioned itself as a privacy focused alternative to popular social media platforms. However, it’s evident that WhatsApp needs to navigate the intricacies of GDPR compliance to uphold its dedication to safeguarding users privacy and data.