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Snapchat and WhatsApp reacted to the new EU rules on children and adolescents

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Snapchat and WhatsApp among the first messengers responded to the new rules of the European Union on personal data, which will take effect in the next months, taking special measures to protect the information of children and adolescents, writes the Financial Times.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, this week reported an increase in the minimum age of users in the EU from 13 to 16 years.

Snapchat plans to stop storing in Europe some data on the location of users of the service, under the age of 16 years. At the same time, the age qualification of Snapchat (13 years) will not change.

Since May 25, 2018 in the countries of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force, which will update the EU Data Protection Directive of 1995. The directive was adopted during the period of the birth of the digital market and does not take into account a significant amount of changes since then.

Among other things, the GDPR protects the rights of citizens to remove personal data from general access (the right to forget) and guarantees them free and unhindered access to their own data. In addition, it obliges companies and organizations “without undue delay” to inform consumers about the leakage of their personal data and to transmit relevant information to regulatory bodies.

According to the GDPR, the processing of these individuals under 16 requires the consent of their parents or guardians. Individual EU states can change this age threshold within 13-16 years. WhatsApp intends to follow the new rules in each particular country of the block.

Facebook intends to ask users under the age of 16 to obtain permission from their parents or guardians. Without such permission, they will not be able to indicate religious and political beliefs in the profile, and the social network will not show them targeted advertising.

Experts note that the new rules can significantly reduce the proportion of children and adolescents in the audience of WhatsApp, Snapchat and other messengers and social networks who will have to take such measures. However, according to Debra Williamson of eMarketer, “many younger users put a false birth date by registering on social networks that require me to specify such a date.”