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The BBC is asking staff to delete the TikTok app from work phones
The BBC has advised staff to delete TikTok from phones due to privacy and security fears. Following Denmark's public broadcaster, the BBC is the first UK media organization to issue the guidance. But the outlet said it will continue to use the platform for editorial and marketing purposes for the time being.
The app has been banned on government phones in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand and Belgium, while the same applies to anyone working at the European Commission. The big fear is that data collected by the platform from corporate phones could be shared with the Chinese government by TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, because its headquarters are in Beijing.
ByteDance employees were found to have tracked the locations of a handful of Western journalists in 2022. The company says they were fired. Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, was asked for her view on the BBC's decision and tweeted: "If resource protection is not a priority, this is a big problem."
In an email to staff on Sunday, the BBC said: “The decision is based on concerns raised by government authorities around the world about data privacy and security. If the device is a BBC corporate device and you do not need TikTok for business reasons, TikTok should be deleted from the BBC corporate mobile device.”
BBC News has its own TikTok channel with 1.2 million followers and has recently recruited journalists to work specifically on creating content for it. A separate BBC account, which shares clips of BBC programming, has more than four million followers.
TikTok said it was disappointed with the BBC's decision.
A spokesperson said: “The BBC has a strong presence on our platform, with multiple accounts from news to music reaching our engaged community both in the UK and around the world. We believe these bans are based on fundamental misunderstandings and fueled by broader geopolitics. We remain in close dialogue with the BBC and are committed to working with them to address any concerns they have."
China has accused the US of spreading disinformation and cracking down on TikTok. Both former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden believe the platform should be sold to an American company.