Why do I have to provide personal info when I register?
Page updated: 23 February 2021
We manage your personal info with great care. So we want you to understand why we’re asking for each piece of information and how we’ll use it to make the BBC better.
If you’re 13 or over we’ll ask for your email address. If you’re under 13 we’ll ask you to create a username, which is different from a display name. You can find out more about display names here.
We use this to check you’re a real person (not a robot) and for security, so only you can access your BBC account. No one else will be able to see your email or username.
Your password helps keep your account secure, so other people can’t get into it. Make sure it’s hard to guess and contains:
- Eight or more characters
- At least one letter
- At least one number or symbol
When you first register we ask for your date of birth. This is so you can use the parts of the BBC that are suitable for your age. For instance, we don’t let adults post on children’s message boards. This is also a way for the BBC to check that you’re over 18.
It also means we can see how people of different ages are using the BBC. Along with information about people’s gender and location, it helps us check we’re making something for everyone.
Knowing your date of birth means we can also give you more relevant info across the BBC and in any BBC emails you sign up for.
Storing your date of birth
If you’re 18 or over, we’ll only keep your year of birth, not the day and month. This is because we only keep data we need to make the BBC more personal to you. We don't need your day and month of birth to do that, so we don't keep them.
If you’re under 18 we’ll keep your full date of birth so we know when you turn 18. And when that happens, we'll delete the day and month from our records.
Outside the UK?
We use it for the reasons listed. And because outside the UK the BBC is commercially funded, BBC Global News Limited also use it to personalise your advertising experience. If you’d prefer we didn’t use your information in this way, you can change your cookie settings.
We ask everyone what gender they identify as. You can choose female, male or enter another term of your choosing. And there’s also an option if you’d prefer not to say.
This helps us see how people of different genders are using the BBC. Along with information about people’s age and location, it helps us check we’re making something for everyone. We might use this, along with other info about you, to give you more relevant info across the BBC and in any BBC emails you sign up for.
If you’re in the UK and 18 or over we’ll ask for your home postcode. If you’re in the UK and under 18 we’ll ask for your hometown. That’s the place where you live.
We use your location:
- to give you relevant local info online and in any email newsletters you sign up for.
- for analysis and research purposes so that we may improve the services offered by the BBC. This can include using geo-demographic information from external sources, where this helps us ensure we are making something for everyone.
We also ask for your full postcode because it helps us understand how the BBC is used across the country. As a public service, we need to make sure we're making something for everyone and giving best value for the licence fee. Read more about why everything we do has to benefit you, our audience.
Outside the UK?
If you're outside the UK we'll ask for your country of residence instead.
We use it for the reasons listed. And because the BBC is commercially funded, BBC Global News Limited also use it to personalise advertising. If you have a UK account, you’ll still see advertising but it won’t be personalised.
If you’d prefer we didn’t use your information in this way, you can change your cookie settings.
What we’ll use your personal information for
The BBC is a public service. Everything we do has to benefit you, our audience. And that includes what we do with your personal information.
We use this information to benefit you in two ways:
1. A more personal BBC for you
It helps us make the BBC more personal for you. It means we can:
- Recommend things we think you’ll like
- Show you content that’s relevant to where you live
- Make sure you can use things that are appropriate for your age.
2. Making something for everyone
As a public service, we need to make something for everyone.
As more of our content gets consumed online, we need to understand who's consuming it. Things like iPlayer give you more ways to enjoy BBC content. And while they let us see how many people are enjoying the things we make, they don’t tell us anything about them, which makes it hard to know if we’re making something for everyone.
That's why we ask you to sign in and provide a bit of information.
Keeping your information safe
We will never sell your personal details to anyone and we'll only use your data commercially if you're using a commercial BBC service. We will never give your personal details to anyone outside the BBC without your consent.
We share some of your personal data with TV Licensing, to check if you are using BBC iPlayer and to keep their database up to date. Find out more about when you need a TV Licence.