TikTok should be removed from company phones, according to the BBC, due to privacy and security concerns.
After Denmark’s public service broadcaster, the BBC appears to be the first UK media organization to issue the guidelines.
The BBC declared that, for the time being, it would keep using the platform for editorial and promotional purposes. TikTok has often refuted accusations of impropriety.
On official phones in the UK and other countries, the app has been prohibited.
Bans are in effect in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Belgium, and anyone employed by the European Commission is also subject to them.
On personal devices, it is still allowed.
The main worry is that because ByteDance, the parent firm of TikTok, has its Beijing headquarters, it may share data collected by the platform from business phones with the Chinese government.
The restrictions, according to TikTok, are the result of “fundamental misconceptions.”
In 2022, it was discovered that ByteDance personnel had followed the whereabouts of a few Western journalists. The business claims they were let go.
When challenged about the BBC’s decision, Alicia Kearns, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, tweeted: “If protecting sources isn’t a priority, that’s a huge concern.”
Supporting TikTok rather than outlawing it
It will be intriguing to see what other media organizations decide to do, according to Dominic Ponsford, editor-in-chief of the Press Gazette, a trade newsletter for the journalism sector.
“I expect everyone’s chief technical officer will be looking at this very seriously,” he said to the BBC.
“Up until now, news organizations have been eager to use TikTok since it has been a reliable source of traffic and one of the social media platforms with the quickest growth rates for news publishers.
Hence, promoting TikTok rather than outlawing it has been the main topic of discussion in the mainstream media.
Security is taken very seriously by BBC.
With more than 3.5 billion downloads worldwide, the short-video platform is well-known for its viral dancing crazes, sketches, and filters and is extremely well-liked among young people.
“BBC News making big play for views on TikTok but now the BBC is advising workers not to have it on their phones,” Channel 4 News host Krishnan Guru-Murthy tweeted in response to the decision.
The safety and security of the BBC’s systems, data, and employees are taken “extremely seriously,” according to a spokeswoman.
The decision is based on worries expressed by government authorities around the world over data privacy and security, it was stated in an email sent to staff on Sunday.
“TikTok should be erased from the BBC corporate mobile device if the device is a BBC corporate device and you do not need it for business reasons.”
While the company investigates TikTok-related concerns, employees who have the app on a personal phone that they also use for work are asked to get in touch with the information security team for more information.
With 1.2 million subscribers, BBC News’ own TikTok channel has just hired journalists to focus solely on producing material for it. There are more than four million followers on a different BBC account that posts clips from BBC shows.
When questioned by BBC News about why it continued to subtly encourage audience use of the app while removing it from many corporate phones, the broadcaster responded that it was providing guidance to employees who had access to sensitive information rather than issuing a general warning about TikTok use.
TikTok expressed its dissatisfaction with the BBC’s choice.
The BBC has a significant presence on our platform, with several accounts from news to music reaching our engaged audience in the UK and around the world, according to a spokeswoman.
“We think these prohibitions are the result of broader geopolitical factors and fundamental errors.
We are committed to working with the BBC to address any issues they may have while maintaining a close line of communication with them.
Other social media companies have also come under fire for data privacy and handling user information, but they are primarily US-owned, unlike ByteDance, which has been accused of being influenced by Beijing.
Despite TikTok’s repeated denials that it has ever exchanged data with the Chinese government, there have been a number of incidences that have prompted suspicions, even though there has been no concrete evidence of this. It claims that all data from Western customers are kept outside of the nation.
As an illustration, a US-based TikTokker’s video criticizing the Chinese government’s treatment of Uighur Muslims was removed. It was a mistake, according to TikTok.
Despite the company’s repeated denials, this has made governments and security experts more anxious.
All Western social networks, which according to TikTok, collect comparable user data, are forcibly restricted in China.
China has charged that the US is stifling TikTok and disseminating misinformation. President Joseph Biden and former President Donald Trump both think a US corporation should own the platform.