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March 19, 2023updated 20 Mar 2023 11:55am

BBC advises staff against using Tiktok on work devices unless for ‘editorial and marketing’

The BBC said staff should have a "justified business reason" to install Tiktok on work phones.

By William Turvill

The BBC has advised staff against using Tiktok on corporate devices unless for “editorial and marketing purposes”.

In guidance sent to staff on Sunday and seen by Press Gazette, the corporation said: “We don’t recommend installing Tiktok on a BBC corporate device unless there is a justified business reason. We will continue to monitor and assess the situation.”

The BBC said the decision was “based on concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data privacy and security”.

Under a section of the guidance entitled “I already have Tiktok installed on my phone/mobile device, what does this mean for me?”, the BBC tells staff: “If the device is your own personal phone/mobile device, you can decide whether or not to keep the app based on your individual circumstances and data considerations.

“If the device is a BBC corporate device, and you do not need Tiktok for business reasons, Tiktok should be deleted from the BBC corporate mobile device. If you have any queries regarding how to remove the app from your device, please contact your usual technical support or service desk.”

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Under the question, “Will the BBC ban the use of TikTok on corporate devices, or my personal device that I use for BBC work purposes?”, the corporation said: “We are currently reviewing the Tiktok concerns and will provide further updates based on the Government and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidelines.”

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The BBC announcement comes shortly after the UK government banned Tiktok on all Civil Service-owned devices.

It also follows in the footsteps of Danish public service broadcaster DR, which earlier this month advised staff not to have Tiktok on their work phones due to security concerns. Editorial staff who need the app for research must now ask to use a shared “Tiktok phone”, according to the BBC.

BBC News has invested heavily in enhancing its editorial presence on Tiktok in recent months. It came relatively late to the app, launching its Tiktok account in March 2022, but this year has hired a new Tiktok team and said creating news for the platform is one of its main priorities for the year.

[Read more: Why Tiktok is one of the ‘main priorities’ at BBC News for 2023]

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC takes the safety and security of our systems, data and people incredibly seriously.  We constantly review activity on third party platforms – including TikTok – and will continue to do so.”

A Tiktok spokesperson told PA: “We are disappointed with the guidance that the BBC has shared but welcome the fact 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 through to music reaching our engaged community both in the UK and around the world.

“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.”

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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