Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report

Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report
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Amazon on Friday asked its employees to delete video sharing app TikTok off their mobile devices due to security concerns, The New York Times reported, but Amazon later backpedaled on this request. 

Amazon, which has over 840,000 employees worldwide, gave its employees until next Friday to remove the app from mobile devices with access to an Amazon email account or be blocked from accessing those accounts on the device, according to an email to employees obtained by the Times. 

Amazon reversed this decision later in the day on Friday, with a spokesperson telling The Hill that the email "was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

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A spokesperson for TikTok told The Hill that Amazon did not tell the social media company about its request prior to sending out the original email to employees.

"User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok – we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users,” the spokesperson said. “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 spokesperson added that “we're proud that tens of millions of Americans turn to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration, and connection, including many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic."

TikTok has come under close scrutiny over the past week following Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Air Force general officially becomes first African American service chief | Senators introduce bill to block Trump armed drone sale measure | State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration State Department offers M reward for foreign election interference information State Department's special envoy for Iran is departing the Trump administration MORE’s announcement that the Trump administration is considering banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.

Pompeo made the announcement during an appearance on Fox News, where he was asked if he would recommend downloading TikTok. Pompeo responded “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

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TikTok also announced this week that it would end operations in Hong Kong after the Chinese government approved a new security law that strips the semi-autonomous city of freedoms it was guaranteed for a certain period of time after the United Kingdom handed it back to China. 

Concerns around TikTok have largely stemmed from a Chinese intelligence law that requires Chinese companies and citizens to disclose sensitive data to the government, as well as concerns around TikTok's data collection practices. 

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which has taken steps in recent months to try to separate TikTok from Chinese ties by hiring an American CEO and moving the storage of user data to the United States. 

Amazon is not the first group to ban employees from using TikTok; the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) banned employees from using the app to create TSA posts in February, and the House passed a bill shortly after to ban use of the app on any TSA device.

-Updated at 5:20 p.m.