BBC considers TikTok ban as some staff told to delete app – deadline

The BBC is reviewing whether to ban TikTok and has asked staff to delete the Chinese social media app from work phones unless they use it for editorial or marketing reasons.

The broadcaster issued new guidance to staff on Sunday after the British government banned the use of TikTok on the phones of ministers and civil servants.

The BBC’s guidance marks a significant change of tone from the broadcaster after it has heavily embraced TikTok over the past year, even hiring specialists for its social media team.

TikTok said it was “disappointed” by the BBC’s edict, adding that the ban is “based on fundamental misunderstandings” about the app’s security risk.

In guidance sent today, obtained by Deadline, the BBC said: “We do not recommend installing TikTok on a BBC corporate device unless there is a legitimate business reason.”

BBC staff were issued with the directive following “concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data protection and security.”

In a Q&A about the guidance, the BBC asked itself: “Will the BBC ban the use of TikTok on company devices or my personal device that I use for BBC work purposes?”

The response: “We are currently reviewing the TikTok concerns and will provide further updates based on government and National Cyber ​​Security Center guidelines.”

Senior BBC journalists have warned about the company’s “obsession” with TikTok for months, with some worried that the company admitted to tracking journalists working for Forbes, BuzzFeed and the Financial Times.

A BBC insider told Deadline that it was “not exactly the time to uncritically throw resources at a platform.” A TikTok source said at the time that it was happy to discuss security issues with BBC journalists and “address any concerns they have.”

The updated BBC guidelines follow Danish public broadcaster DR, which advised staff to stop using the app last week. A TikTok insider described the ban as “self-defeating” and pointed to its plan to create a “safe enclave for European TikTok user data” to help ease security concerns.

TikTok said: “We are disappointed by the guidance shared by the BBC, but welcome that TikTok can still be used as part of editorial, marketing and reporting purposes. The BBC has a strong presence on our platform, with multiple accounts from news for music that reaches our engaged community both in the UK and around the world.

“We believe these bans have been based on fundamental misunderstandings 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.”

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