Following the ban on TikTok by the UK government, the BBC is considering a TikTok ban for its employees.
The BBC issued new guidance to its employees that told staff to delete the app from their work phones unless they use it for editorial or marketing reasons. That’s a marked withdrawal from the app for an organization that hired social media specialists to spread its messages on TikTok.
A TikTok spokesperson said it was disappointed by the BBC’s decision, repeating the same line the company has used when asked about government bans. TikTok says it believes the national security concerns are “based on fundamental misconceptions” about the app’s security risks. But there have already been several well-documented cases of Chinese ByteDance engineers having backdoor access to U.S. TikTok data. TikTok was also caught hoovering up data from users’ clipboards and promised it totally wouldn’t do that anymore, okay guys? Trust us.
The BBC guidance given to employees says after “concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data privacy and security,” the new action is to delete the app. A Q&A section for the guidance asks if the BBC will ban the use of TikTok on personal devices. “We are currently reviewing the TikTok concerns and will provide further updates based on the government and National Cyber Security Centre guidelines,” the answer reads.
The BBC isn’t the only media corporation looking at how it uses the platform. Danish public broadcaster DR advised its employees to stop using the app last week. News outlets and media organizations are examining the role TikTok plays in their reporting after news surfaced that TikTok data of U.S. journalists was being tracked by ByteDance employees.
“We believe these bands have been based on fundamental misconceptions and driven by wider geopolitics,” a TikTok spokesperson says of the new BBC guidance. “We remain in close dialogue with the BBC and are committed to working with them to address any concerns they have.”