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The BBC is advising staff to remove TikTok from work phones


Though the BBC still has a TikTok channel, it is advising staff to delete the app from their work phones over China fears.

As a TikTok ban edges closer in the US, the UK's British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) seeks to remove it from corporate devices over features of Chinese surveillance. However, the app is still permitted on personal devices.

In an email to staff on Sunday, the media organization said: "The decision is based on concerns raised by government authorities worldwide regarding data privacy and security. 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."

The UK government has already banned TikTok on government smartphones, and the BBC may be the first UK media organization to do so. However, the BBC has a channel on TikTok and will continue to use the platform for editorial and marketing purposes, at least for now.

Countries imposing bans include Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, and the US, and it also applies to anyone working at the European Commission. In December 2022, the House of Representatives banned staff use of TikTok and ordered that the app be uninstalled from iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Government officials are worried that China could "weaponize" TikTok using user data, as TikTok's parent company ByteDance is headquartered in Beijing. However, TikTok has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and says Western users' data is stored outside of China.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan bill in the US has been making its way through the government called the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act.

Some legislative offices have stated that the RESTRICT Act neither specifically targets TikTok nor calls for a ban to be imposed by the President. Instead, if passed into law, the plan would establish yet another federal framework for assessing and sanctioning foreign businesses that threaten US security.

Corporations and governments tightly control what apps can be installed on phones loaned to staff. Consequently, it's unlikely that many government personnel will have TikTok anyway, though more BBC staff will because of the broadcaster's channel on the service.

Previously, some officials in the US have called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their respective app stores.