WhatsApp now banned for children and teens under 16 in some places

European Union regulations coming into force next month will crack down on how companies like Facebook use and sell the data they collect on users. A suite of new tools is designed to inform users how the firm uses their data including to provide targete

Other multinational companies are also planning changes

Just before the launch of Europe's new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) privacy standards, WhatsApp has altered the age prerequisites for the European users. In regions outside of Europe, the minimum age to use WhatsApp will remain as 13.

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

WhatsApp, which had more than 1.5 billion users in January, said in a blog post, 'Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you'.

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But like its parent company Facebook doesn't seem to be adopting GDPR-level privacy regulations outside the EU, WhatsApp seemingly has no plans to change the minimum age threshold elsewhere.

In 2017 European regulators disrupted a move by WhatsApp to change its policies to allow it to share users' phone numbers and other information with Facebook for ad targeting and other uses.

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The Facebook app has also setup an entity within the European Union to focus on implementing these different terms and "to meet the new high standards of transparency" that WhatsApp claims it will provide for its European Union users. The age limit has been extended to 16 years from the earlier set age bar of 13 years.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp would be asking European users to confirm they are at least sixteen years in age when they are alerted to accept the new terms of service and an updated privacy policy in the coming weeks' time. The cross-checking of a user's age is quite hard for WhatsApp and it has not revealed the measures taken to identify the age range. Twitter is also giving users more control over how it shares certain non-public data. Teens aged between 13 and 15 will have to get permission from their parents to share personal information on the app.

In the example of apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, both companies have announced tools which will allow you to download all the data that they have collected on you.

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