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Swedish public broadcasters ban staff from using TikTok

August 17, 2020

Sweden’s public broadcasters Swedish Television (SVT) and Swedish Radio (SR) said Monday they have banned staff from using the video-sharing app TikTok on their work phones for security reasons.

“SVT’s IT security department has found that the TikTok app discloses more information than what is considered necessary” to the app’s Chinese owner Bytedance, SVT wrote on its website.

“SVT has therefore decided that employees are not allowed to have the TikTok app on their work phones.”

Staff were informed of the decision by email.

Earlier this month, Swedish Radio took a similar decision, because the app “does not meet the security requirements we have on our work tools, such as work-issued phones,” SR spokesman Claes Bertilson told AFP on Monday.

TikTok has around one billion users, primarily teens who make and share short videos, often set to music.

But the platform has become the focus of geopolitical tensions.

In late June, India announced it was banning 59 Chinese apps including TikTok following a surge in anti-China sentiment in the wake of a Himalayan border clash.

In the US, President Donald Trump has claimed TikTok could be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on people for blackmail and conduct corporate espionage.

Trump has banned TikTok from operating in the US and ordered its owner ByteDance to sell its interest in the app it bought and merged with TikTok.

China on Monday meanwhile slammed Washington for using what it called “digital gunboat diplomacy”.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.