WhatsApp raises minimum age to 16 in Europe

It comes ahead of the introduction of the EU's tough new data protection laws

WhatsApp raises minimum age to 16 in Europe

Picture by: Jaap Arriens/SIPA USA/PA Images

WhatsApp is raising its minimum age from 13 to 16 across Europe.

The Facebook-owned messaging service has announced the change to its terms of service ahead of the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force next month.

According to WhatsApp, the minimum age will remain at 13 elsewhere in the world.

It adds: "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 company says that WhatsApp Ireland will be responsible for European users' information.

In a blog post highlighting the changes, WhatsApp said: "[We have] established an entity within the European Union to provide your services there and to meet the new high standards of transparency for how we protect the privacy of our users."

The company says it is 'currently' not sharing account information with Facebook for advertising purpose, but adds: "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."

Many technology companies have introduced new or revised privacy measures in advance of the EU rules coming into effect on 25th May 2018.

Any organisations found in breach of GDPR will face fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover.

According to the EU, the new rules mean companies "will no longer be able to use long illegible terms and conditions full of legalese" when requesting consent from users.