WhatsApp to restrict under 16s from using its app in Europe
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WhatsApp to restrict under 16s from using its app in Europe

WhatsApp is banning people under the age of 16 years from using its messaging service in the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe.

The popular app previously allowed 13-year-old users to access the service, but ahead of new data privacy rules coming into force next month, the minimum age at which people can register is being raised to 16.

The minimum age of 13 is remaining in place outside Europe.

WhatsApp released the following statement announcing the conditions of the new regulations: “In addition to being of the minimum required age to use our services under applicable law, if you are not old enough to have authority to agree to our terms in your country, your parent or guardian must agree to our terms on your behalf.”

The list of countries where the changes will apply are as follows:

Andorra, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus, Réunion, Romania, San Marino, Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Kingdom sovereign bases in Cyprus (Akrotiri and Dhekeli), and Vatican City.

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WhatsApp also reiterated their commitment to protecting the data of users in light of recent revelations surrounding Facebook.

They said: “In the coming weeks, you will be able to download and see the limited data that we collect. This feature will be rolling out to all users around the world on the newest version of the app.” 

“We are not currently sharing account information to improve your product and ads experience on Facebook. As we have said in the past, we want to work closely with other Facebook companies in the future and we will keep you updated as we develop our plans.

“When we receive reports of a bad actor sending unwanted messages – like SPAM or abusive content – on either WhatsApp or Facebook, we share information and can take action including blocking them across both services.”