Amazon said it mistakenly send an e-mail to employees Friday telling them to delete the popular video app TikTok from their phones.
“This morning’s e-mail to some of our employees was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok,” Amazon said in an e-mailed statement just before 5 p.m. Eastern time.
Amazon had told employees to delete the popular video app TikTok from phones on which they use Amazon e-mail, citing “security risks” from the China-owned app.
“The TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon e-mail,” the notice read, which was sent Friday around midday Eastern time, according to an employee who is not authorized to speak publicly. To retain mobile access to Amazon e-mail, employees must delete the TikTok app by the end of the day.
Amazon is the second-largest U.S. private employer after Walmart, with more than 840,000 employees worldwide. Amazon did not reply to requests for comment.
In an e-mailed statement, TikTok said that Amazon did not notify it before sending the email. “We still do not understand their concerns,” it continued, adding that the company would welcome a dialogue to address Amazon’s issues.
Chinese internet giant ByteDance owns TikTok, which is designed for users outside of China, as well as a Chinese version called Douyin. Like YouTube, TikTok relies on its users for the videos that populate its app. It has a reputation for fun, goofy videos and is popular with young people, including millions of American users. But it has racked up concerns ranging from censorship of videos, including those critical of the Chinese government, the threat of sharing user data with Chinese officials to violating kids’ privacy.
TikTok is among the fastest growing digital platforms in history, is facing heavy scrutiny outside China. India banned TikTok and other Chinese apps in June.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this week Washington was considering banning TikTok in the United States. Asked if Americans should download it, he told Fox News: “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Two Republican senators in March introduced a bill aimed at banning federal employees from using TikTok on their government-issued phones, amid growing national security concerns around the collection and sharing of data on U.S. users with China’s government.
Last year the United States Navy banned TikTok from government-issued mobile devices, saying the short video app represented a “cybersecurity threat.”
Last November, the U.S. government launched a national security review of ByteDance Technology Co’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly, Reuters first reported last year.
With files fromReuters
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