WhatsApp lowers the minimum age of European users from sixteen to thirteen years, while in 2018 they had increased the minimum age from thirteen to sixteen years.

Megan van der Wagt

Whatsapp regularly releases new updates and features, only in terms of user-friendliness, but certainly also in the field of privacy. For example, WhatsApp recently announced that it was working on a feature that prevents people from taking screenshots of your profile photo. Now WhatsApp has announced via this blog post that the minimum age for the app in the Netherlands and Europe has become 13 years old. The reason for this is that there is once again a consistent minimum age for WhatsApp worldwide. New users must confirm that they are thirteen years of age or older. WhatsApp does not check whether users are really thirteen, but assumes that users do not enter false data, as this is against their rules.

Concerns about (too) low age
According to the American news organization CNN, several European children’s rights organizations have spoken out against this age reduction. Lowering the minimum age could allow children to be bullied via the app or expose children to inappropriate content.
A WhatsApp spokesperson stated that all users, including children, always have the option to control their conversations: “WhatsApp users can refuse to participate in group conversations, block numbers and report accounts.”

Increase age
In 2018, WhatsApp increased the age requirements for the EU to sixteen years. They did this because of the new European GDPR privacy rules. As a result, children under the age of sixteen were no longer allowed to independently give permission if apps wanted to store privacy-sensitive data, such as telephone numbers.