Whatsapp bans usage for under 16s across Europe

27 April, 2018, 00:20 | Author: Joy Garcia
  • Facebook starts to take user privacy very seriously as GDPR looms

To continue to use WhatsApp, users must now confirm that they are at least 16 years old and agree to the privacy policy and terms of services of the newly-created WhatsApp Ireland Limited. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, announced this week that it was raising the minimum user age to 16 in Europe but leaving it at 13 for users in the rest of the world, including the United States.

The service which is used by more than 1.5 billion people worldwide clarified in a blog post on Tuesday that they were "not asking for new rights to collect personal information with this update".

The new regulation also enhances the outreach of the regulating authorities to all the firms that are managing the data of European Union customers, irrespective of the location of the company itself.

Facebook won't be mirroring WhatsApp's new minimum age policy, though. It's unclear how Facebook plans to do this seeing as it claims that user messages are encrypted, there's not really any other information they could glean to make ads more appropriate for users. That's unfair to users whose data are coming to Facebook from a multitude of hard-to-track sources, some of which they'd surely like to cut off. The company is enforcing this rules strictly ahead of the introduction of new data privacy rules in Europe next month.

While WhatsApp does not now access information in messages or share that information with its sister-companies like Facebook, this may not be a permanent fixture.

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Facebook is also set to change its rules.

"Whilst companies have made general improvements in their preparations for EU General Data Protection Regulation, the survey suggests that most will not be fully compliant with the regulation when it comes into force", said Mark Hickman, Chief Operating Officer at WinMagic.

Matthew Kershew, director of content at Iris, an advertising agency and management consultancy, says WhatsApp's new policy is "just a gesture", and is likely to be unenforceable.

The EU's GDPR is the biggest overhaul of online privacy since the birth of the internet, giving Europeans the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have it deleted.

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