LONDON: The BBC has urged its staff to delete TikTok from their work devices.
“We don’t recommend installing TikTok on a BBC corporate device unless there is a justified business reason. If you do not need TikTok for business reasons, TikTok should be deleted,” said the broadcaster in a note sent to staff on Sunday.
Use of the app for editorial and marketing purposes is still permitted, a spokesperson said, adding that the network would continue to monitor and assess the situation, issuing further guidance if necessary.
Explaining the move, the BBC said: “The decision is based on concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data privacy and security.”
It added that employees who use TikTok on personal or business devices should contact the security team to discuss “the type of BBC information that you are working with.”
Commenting on the news, TikTok said it was “disappointed” by the decision but “(welcomed) the fact TikTok can still be used as part of editorial, marketing and reporting purposes.”
In a statement, the Chinese video platform said: “We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics. We remain in close dialogue with the BBC and are committed to working with them to address any concerns they have.”
The BBC has a strong presence on the platform, with 1.2 million people following the BBC News account and over 4 million following a second BBC account that shares the broadcaster’s program clips.
The BBC seems to be the first UK media organization to issue the guidance and only the second in the world after Denmark’s public service broadcaster, which announced a similar guidance earlier this month.
The news comes a few days after the UK government announced that ministers and civil servants would be barred from having the TikTok app installed on official devices amid fears that sensitive data could be accessed by the Chinese government.
In recent months, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has been at the center of intense criticisms after Western governments grew increasingly skeptical of its relationship with the Chinese government.
TikTok has strived to reassure Western officials over its handling of user data, but several officials have moved to ban the video app from work devices.
ByteDance said the decision was politically motivated and based on “fundamentally wrong information.”
Western social networks including Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, which TikTok says gather similar data on their users, are officially blocked in China.
China has accused the US of spreading disinformation and suppressing TikTok after President Joe Biden threatened to ban the app entirely if its Chinese owners do not divest their stakes in it.