Last week, WhatsApp announced plans to raise its minimum age requirement from 13 to 16 for customers based in Europe – and now we know how it’s planning to enforce the rule (spoiler: it’s couldn’t be easier to circumvent).
The Facebook-owned firm released an updated version of its beta client on April 26, which features a revised Terms of Service agreement that requires users to confirm they’re at least 16 years old by checking a box. That’s it – no proof required.
“If you live in a country in the European Region (EU), you must be at least 16 years old to use our Services or such greater age required in your country to register for or use our Services,” specifies WhatsApp in its updated Terms of Service policy.
“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.”
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Recent studies suggest that most customers fail to read the Terms of Service agreement when signing up for a new service, so it’s unlikely this endeavour will reduce the number of under 16s using WhatsApp – or stop more from signing up.
The change was announced as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation-compliance deadline approaches. From May 25, companies operating in Europe will need to be more transparent about how they handle users’ data.
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