EUROPE- Popular messaging service WhatsApp is banning under-16s from using its platform in the European Union.
The current age limit for users is at 13, but the firm is changing the rules ahead of the introduction of new EU data privacy regulations in May.
WhatsApp which is owned by Facebook will ask the user to confirm their age when asked to agree to the terms and conditions. This new development will be implemented in the next few weeks.
They did not say how the age limit will be enforced.
Presently WhatsApp does not ask the user what age they are when they join the messaging app nor does it mention Facebook or Instagram to cross reference their accounts.
According to media regulator in the UK, Ofcom, it was reported that about a third of 12-15 year old use WhatsApp.
That figure made it the fifth most popular social network with the age group, after Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube.
The new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect on 25 May, it gives people much more control over how companies use their information. It also giving the user the right to have their data erased.
The specific rules will also protect children from having their personal data collected for marketing purposes, or to create user profiles.
WhatsApp says this new rule will meet the “new high standards of transparency” in the EU, the app has faced criticism in the past for their data sharing practices.