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WhatsApp updates its Terms of Service and privacy policies

WhatsApp has updated its Terms of Service and Privacy Policies with new features such as the change in the minimum age of use to 13 years or the modification of the international data transfer mechanisms, in order to comply with the obligations of the new regulations of the European Union (EU), such as the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The DMA, which became effective this week in the EU, establishes new rules for large companies considered to be controllers of the technology market – including Meta, WhatsApp’s parent company – to guarantee fair competition in the sector.

For its part, the DSA, which began to be applicable for large platforms and search engines in August of last year, is also mandatory in the EU for all other digital services entities since last February, including certain online marketplaces, social networking services and content sharing platforms, among others.

This standard seeks to create a safer digital space to protect the fundamental rights of users of digital services. Thus, it establishes obligations of transparency and diligence, such as presenting advertising so that users know that it is an advertisement, or protecting minors online so that they cannot be exposed to personalized advertisements.

In this framework, in order to adapt its service to the new regulations, WhatsApp has shared the updates that it has implemented in its Terms of Service and Privacy Policies, which users must accept to continue using the messaging platform before April 11 of this year.

Specifically, as the company has pointed out in the information published on its help center page, one of the new changes is the minimum age to use WhatsApp in the EU, which goes from 16 to 13 years old. So, as he explained, “a consistent minimum age requirement is imposed” to use the social network on a global level.

Likewise, WhatsApp has also modified its international data transfer mechanisms for EU users. With this, as explained, they are now based on the European Union-United States Data Privacy Framework, which establishes a minimum level of protection for the data of European users that is transferred to participating American companies.

On the other hand, the social network has indicated that it will add more information about the guidelines and policies that apply to its Terms of Service, with the aim of specifying everything that is allowed on WhatsApp, as well as highlighting what is not.

Likewise, more details will also be included about the new EU requirements regarding the obligation to be an interoperable application, which will be able to offer the option of sending messages from WhatsApp to supported third-party applications.

The messaging application already started working on this feature in January of this year, both in the Android and iOS versions. Following this line, WhatsApp continues to advance this function, testing the ability to manage chats that come from third-party applications in its beta version for Android devices.

Specifically, this interoperability with third-party applications will allow WhatsApp users to communicate with other platforms, and vice versa, without the need for users of other services to have a Meta account. That is, it will allow Telegram and WhatsApp users to communicate with each other, each from their application perspective.

Finally, WhatsApp has also specified that, when a user starts using the channels, it will add explanatory information on how to apply the Channel Rules, how to report content and appeal decisions, and how the channel recommendation system works.

With all this, the messaging platform has remembered that both messages and personal calls are kept end-to-end encrypted. “No one else, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them,” he said.

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