The European Union’s long-awaited privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), takes effect May 25. The law says companies operating across the EU, and implicitly dealing with citizens’ data, must clearly inform users how their information is collected and used. Companies that don’t comply with the regulation will be fined up to EUR20 million or 4 percent of their annual global turnover, whichever is highest.
As of May, EU residents younger than 16 years of age can no longer communicate via WhatsApp, unless a parent or guardian can confirm their age, the company announced in a move to comply with the new data privacy law.
“We are not asking for new rights to collect personal information with this update,” the company said. “Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you. ”
The age limit was raised from 13 for all WhatsApp users in EU member states. WhatsApp collects a smaller amount of data than Facebook, its parent company. In contrast to WhatsApp’s data collection strategy, Facebook is taking a completely different approach following recent privacy and data collection scandal, especially addressing users aged 13 to 15.
WhatsApp says it will not share account-related information with Facebook and that it will improve its strategy of blocking spam and abusive content. From now on, users can transparently view and download the data collected in a feature to be available for worldwide users.