The BBC advises employees to delete TikTok from their work phones.

Because of privacy and security concerns, the BBC has advised employees to delete TikTok from corporate phones.

The BBC appears to be the first UK media organization to issue the guidance, and the world’s second after Denmark’s public service broadcaster.

For the time being, the BBC has stated that it will continue to use the platform for editorial and marketing purposes. TikTok has always denied any wrongdoing.

The app is no longer available on government phones in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

Bans have been imposed in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Belgium, and the same applies to anyone working for the European Commission.

It is, however, still legal on personal devices.

Because TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has its headquarters in Beijing, the main concern is that data harvested by the platform from corporate phones could be shared with the Chinese government.

The bans are based on “fundamental misconceptions,” according to TikTok.

In 2022, ByteDance employees were discovered tracking the locations of a few Western journalists. According to the company, they were fired.

When asked about the BBC’s decision, Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Alicia Kearns tweeted, “If protecting sources isn’t a priority, that’s a major problem.”

‘Encouraging TikTok rather than prohibiting it’
Dominic Ponsford, editor-in-chief of the Press Gazette, a trade publication for the journalism industry, said it will be interesting to see what other media organizations do.

“I suspect everyone’s chief technical officer will be looking at this very closely,” he told the BBC.

“Until now, news organizations have been eager to use TikTok because it has been one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for news publishers over the last year, and it has been a good source of audience and traffic.

“As a result, the majority of the discussion in the news media has centered on encouraging TikTok rather than prohibiting it.”

The BBC takes security ‘extremely seriously.’
The short-video platform is well-known for its viral dance crazes, sketches, and filters, and it has over 3.5 billion downloads worldwide.

Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy tweeted in reaction to the decision: “BBC News making big play for views on TikTok but now the BBC is telling staff not to have it on their phones”.

According to a BBC spokesperson, the BBC takes “extremely seriously” the safety and security of its systems, data, and people.

TikTok is no longer available on official UK government phones.
How much information does TikTok collect?
“The decision is based on concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data privacy and security,” it said in an email to staff on Sunday.

“If the device is a BBC corporate device and you do not require TikTok for business purposes, TikTok should be removed from the BBC corporate mobile device.”

Employees who have the app on a personal phone that they also use for work have been asked to contact the corporation’s Information Security team for further discussions while the company investigates TikTok concerns.

BBC News has its own TikTok channel with 1.2 million followers and has recently hired journalists to create content for it. A separate BBC account with over four million followers shares BBC program clips.

When asked by BBC News why the BBC was still indirectly encouraging audience use of TikTok while removing it from many corporate phones, the corporation stated that it was providing guidance to staff with access to sensitive data and was not issuing a public warning about TikTok in general.

TikTok expressed dissatisfaction with the BBC’s decision.

“The BBC has a strong presence on our platform, with multiple accounts ranging from news to music reaching our engaged community both in the UK and around the world,” a spokesperson said.

“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics.

“We continue to maintain close communication with the BBC and are committed to working with them to address any concerns they may have.”

Other social media platforms have faced criticism for privacy and data issues, but they are mostly owned by Americans, whereas ByteDance has been accused of being influenced by Beijing.

While there is no concrete evidence, a number of incidents have raised concerns, despite TikTok’s repeated denials that it has ever shared data with the Chinese government. It claims that all data from Western users is stored outside of the country.

For example, a TikTokker from the United States shared a video criticizing the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, and it was removed. TikTok stated that this was an error.

Despite the firm’s consistent denials, this has increased governments’ and security experts’ anxiety.

All Western social networks, according to TikTok, collect similar data on their users and are therefore officially blocked in China.

China has accused the United States of disinformation and censorship of TikTok. Former President Donald Trump and current Vice President Joe Biden agree that the platform should be sold to a US company.

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