Sky News Australia has pulled out of TikTok citing security risks posed by the Chinese-owned app

Brisbane, Australia (CNN) Australia’s Sky News has left TikTok over security concerns that have prompted several Western governments to block the video app on devices used by officials.

in article Posting on the Sky News Australia website on Monday, digital editor Jack Hutton said the security risks posed by the “Beijing-controlled platform” were “too great for any serious news publisher”.

“TikTok is a spy network masquerading as a social media platform that has been shown to illegally steal the data of journalists, citizens and politicians,” Hutton wrote.

We urge [media organizations] To consider this dilemma and stop trading security and integrity for worthless perspectives.”

CNN has reached out to TikTok for a response.

Experts say the security concerns behind recent government bans, while serious, currently appear to only reflect the possibility of TikTok being used for foreign intelligence, not that it was. There is still no public evidence that the Chinese government has actually spied on people through TikTok.

Sky News Australia is owned by Rupert Murdoch News Corp (NWSA)a separate entity of British broadcaster Sky News, which is owned by the Sky Group, a division of the US conglomerate Comcast (CCZ).

Last year, TikTok owner ByteDance admitted it had four employees Incorrect access to personal data Journalists from the Financial Times and BuzzFeed.

ByteDance said the employees involved are investigating possible information leaks, and have been fired for abusing their authority to access TikTok user data.

Separately, experts around the world have raised broader concerns that TikTok presents a security risk because of the sheer amount of data it collects on millions of users, and its susceptibility to potential interference by the Chinese government, which wields significant influence over companies in its jurisdiction. .

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Government ban

the The United States and other western countries It has banned the app on government machines, with the Biden administration threatening to move forward with a broader ban unless TikTok’s Chinese owners sell their stakes in the company. A blanket ban that would deny 150 million US users access to the platform.

TikTok has repeatedly denied having links to Beijing and Company CEO Xu Qiu He recently told a US congressional hearing that he had seen no evidence that the Chinese government had access to user data and had never asked for it. Moreover, he said, the amount of information the company collects on users is no more than most industry players.

While a number of governments have moved to delete TikTok from their employees’ phones, most major news companies have yet to follow through.

Last month , The BBC has advised employees to delete TikTok from their work phonesFollowing a similar move by the Danish public broadcaster, DR, but the British broadcaster is still posting its content on the short video app to its millions of followers.

Hutton of Sky News Australia said the BBC’s decision to block the app after publishing content on the platform was an “irony” that “proves the hunger to reach new demographics has bedeviled editorial strategies in newsrooms globally”.

CNN has reached out to the BBC for comment.

Before deleting her account, Houghton said Sky News Australia had 65,000 followers and “several million video views”.

The channel is known for its conservative comments, and was described last year in a report by a British think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue as “a significant right-wing outlet with growing influence internationally”.

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On the climate crisis, it has also been described as a “content hub for influencers, skeptics, and outlets around the world.”

in 2021, Sky News Australia’s YouTube ban From uploading new content for a week to spreading misinformation about the covid pandemic. At the time, the broadcaster issued a statement denying allegations that its host denied the existence of Covid-19, and that it had posted or removed videos showing many.

Hutton also argued in an online article that the decision was “a disturbing attack on the ability to think freely”.

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