Amazon Tells Employees to Delete TikTok, Then Claims Directive Was Sent in Error

Monica Nickelsburg, GeekWire
Monica Nickelsburg is GeekWire’s Civic Editor, covering technology-driven solutions to urban challenges and the intersection of tech and politics. Before joining GeekWire, she worked for The Week, Forbes, and NBC. Monica holds a BA in journalism and history from New York University. Follow her @mnickelsburg and read her stories on GeekWire.
Amazon Tells Employees to Delete TikTok, Then Claims Directive Was Sent in Error

An Amazon spokesperson said Friday afternoon that an email ordering employees to delete TikTok was sent in error. The company declined to provide further explanation for how the directive was sent.

"This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error," the spokesperson said. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok."

Amazon's had earlier sent an email saying that it was requiring employees to remove the popular video-sharing app TikTok from their mobile devices immediately due to security concerns.

"Due to security risks, the TikTop app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email," the company said Friday in an email to employees.

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps in the world but government officials and business leaders are becoming increasingly wary of the Chinese-owned company.

The U.S. military has already barred its members from using TikTok and the federal government is considering a broader ban out of concerns that the Chinese government may be using the app to spy on Americans.

Earlier this month, India announced it will ban TikTok and other popular Chinese apps citing threats to "sovereignty and integrity."

Amazon did not provide details on its concerns in the employee email. We've reached out to the company to comment and will update this story when we hear back.

A TikTok spokesperson said the company is "fully committed to respecting the privacy of users," in a statement to the Times.

"While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community."

Last month, a new privacy feature in iOS 14 revealed TikTok was accessing users' clipboard content despite promising to discontinue the practice last year.

This story first appeared on GeekWire.

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Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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