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WhatsApp Lowers Age Limit in Europe, Sparking Safety Concerns1 min read

WhatsApp Lowers Age Limit in Europe, Sparking Safety Concerns<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">1</span> min read</span>

Meta, the social media giant behind WhatsApp, has lowered the minimum age for users in Europe from 16 to 13. This move has drawn criticism from child safety advocates who worry about the potential risks young people face online.

The new age limit applies to both the European Union and the United Kingdom. Meta claims the change creates a consistent global policy for WhatsApp. However, critics argue it exposes younger users to dangers like cyberbullying and inappropriate content.

Concerns and Criticism

  • Smartphone Free Childhood, a UK advocacy group, slammed the decision, accusing Meta of prioritizing profits over child safety.
  • Lawmaker Vicky Ford called it “irresponsible” for not consulting parents first.

Meta’s Defense

  • A WhatsApp spokesperson highlighted features that give users control over who can add them to groups and block unknown contacts.

Meta’s Past Controversies

  • Meta has faced previous criticism for lowering age limits on other platforms.
  • Last year, the company planned to reduce the minimum age for its VR app despite concerns from lawmakers.
  • Reports also surfaced about CEO Mark Zuckerberg allegedly blocking initiatives to improve teen safety on Facebook and Instagram.

Meta’s Efforts for Safety

  • Despite the age limit change, Meta announced it’s testing features to protect young people from online predators and the sharing of explicit images.