- Amazon told employees in an email on Friday that they had to delete TikTok from phones they use to access their work email because of “security risks,” The New York Times reported.
- But Amazon walked that policy back in a statement Friday, saying it was sent to some employees in “error” and that employees don’t have to delete TikTok.
- TikTok’s data-collection practices have come under scrutiny from US lawmakers. While the app collects the same type of data that most apps collect, critics have pointed out that TikTok is owned by a Beijing-based company and questioned whether the data could be turned over to the Chinese government.
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Amazon said an email instructing employees to delete TikTok from their phones was “sent in error” Friday, hours after the email was sent and widely reported by news outlets.
The company first told employees in an email on Friday that they must delete the TikTok app from phones they use to access their work email, citing “security risks.”
“Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email,” employees were told, according to a copy of the email tweeted by the New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz.
—Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) July 10, 2020
But after the email was reported, Amazon said in a statement to Business Insider that it was sent in error.
“This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
A TikTok representative told Business Insider in a statement that the company did not receive any communication from Amazon.
“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,” the representative said.
TikTok’s data-collection practices have come under scrutiny because TikTok is owned by a Chinese company. However, experts told Business Insider that its practices largely mirrored those of popular US apps like Facebook.
The Trump administration has said it’s considering banning TikTok in the US because of its data collection and Chinese ownership — but it hasn’t clarified what such a ban would look like.
Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican who has hammered TikTok’s ties to China, retweeted an article about Amazon’s ban on Friday before it was walked back, adding, “Now the whole federal government should follow suit.”
—Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) July 10, 2020
New details of TikTok’s data-collection practices recently came to light thanks to a new feature in Apple’s iOS 14 that caught the app snooping on users’ clipboard data. TikTok has since said it disabled the feature.