The BBC has advised its staff to remove popular social media app TikTok from their corporate phones over fears regarding safety and privacy. The app has been banned on government-owned phones in the UK and elsewhere.
The broadcaster has become the first UK media organisation to issue the guidance, and the second in the world to issue guidance regarding TikTok after Denmark’s public service broadcaster.
TikTok has consistently denied any wrongdoing on their part, with the BBC stating it would continue to use the platform for editorial and marketing purposes for now. TikTok currently boasts over 1.53 billion active users.
Countries imposing bans include the US, Canada, New Zealand and Belgium, while the same applies to anyone working at the European Commission, but use is still allowed on personal phones.
If you’re not up to speed with the TikTok saga, the main fear stems from people’s beliefs that data harvested by the platform from corporate phones could be shared with the Chinese government by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, as their headquarters are in Beijing.
Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, was asked for her view on the BBC’s decision, and tweeted: "If protecting sources isn’t a priority, that’s a major problem.”
Talking to the BBC, Dominic Ponsford, editor-in-chief of journalism industry trade publication the Press Gazette "I suspect everyone’s chief technical officer will be looking at this very closely.
"Until now, news organisations have been very keen to use TikTok, because it’s been one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for news publishers over the last year, and it’s been a good source of audience and traffic.
"So most of the talk in the news media has been around encouraging TikTok rather than banning it."