New data privacy rules being rolled out in the European Union next month are forcing the change, but the messaging service has said in a blog post it will not be asking for any new rights to collect personal information in the agreement. Users will be asked to confirm their age when prompted to agree to new terms of service within the next few weeks.
"Our goal is simply to explain how we use and protect the limited information we have about you", Facebook said about the new WhatsApp regulation.
If you live in a country in the European Region, you must be at least 16 years old to use WhatsApp.
Facebook itself is under scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers around the world since disclosing last month that the personal information of millions of users wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, setting off wider concerns about how it handles user data. Yep, that's right - WhatsApp is raising its minimum age for European users from 13 to 16. If you are between 13 and 15 years of age, you will be required to nominate a parent or a guardian to give permission to share information on the social media network.
Soon, Europe's GDPR privacy standards will launch.
WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption policies have often come up against regulatory hurdles, such as when the platform publicly refused to allow backdoor access for law enforcement officials to access conversations of fugitives and terrorism suspects. WhatsApp hasn't said how it will be verifying users are reporting their real age.
Staying safe on WhatsApp: When we receive reports of a bad actor sending unwanted messages - like SPAM or abusive content - on either WhatsApp or Facebook, we share information and can take action including blocking them across both services.