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Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones

Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones
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Wells Fargo has ordered a group of employees to delete TikTok from their work phones over concerns about the Chinese-owned app's practices when it comes to privacy and security. 

The financial services company said in a statement to The Hill on Monday that it "identified a small number of Wells Fargo employees with corporate-owned devices who had installed the TikTok application on their device."

"Due to concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices," the company said. 

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A TikTok spokesperson told The Hill that it has not been in communication with Wells Fargo. 

"But as with any organization that has concerns, we are open to engaging with them constructively and sharing the actions we take to protect data security for our users," the spokesperson said. "Our hope is that whatever concerns Wells Fargo may have can be answered through transparent dialogue so that their employees can continue to participate in and benefit from our community."

The move from the company comes as TikTok, a short-form video platform popular among teens, faces growing scrutiny from lawmakers and businesses in the U.S. over its handling of user data. The announcement also came after Amazon on Friday sent an email to employees asking them to delete TikTok from their phones, before backtracking just hours later. 

"There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok," an Amazon spokesperson told The Hill, adding that the email was sent in "error."

Members of Congress and the Trump administration have repeatedly voiced concerns about TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump transgender ban 'inflicts concrete harms,' study says | China objects to US admiral's Taiwan visit King of Jordan becomes first Arab leader to speak with President-elect Biden Central Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention MORE said last week that the U.S. was exploring a ban of TikTok and other apps associated with China due to concerns they have shared user data with the government in Beijing. 

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During an interview with Fox News, Pompeo suggested that individuals using TikTok risked putting "private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” It remains unclear, however, how the Trump administration would proceed with imposing a ban on the use of an app. 

India earlier this month banned TikTok, as well as 58 other Chinese apps, following a border skirmish between the two nations.

Pompeo's comments echoed many of the fears Democrats and Republicans have voiced as the app grows in popularity in the U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerUS national security policy in the 117th Congress and a new administration Voters say Biden should make coronavirus vaccine a priority: poll New York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Warnock hit by Republicans over 'cannot serve God and the military' comment MORE (R-Ark.) last October asked then-acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireRetired Navy admiral behind bin Laden raid says he voted for Biden Congressional Democrats request FBI briefing on foreign election interference efforts Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones MORE to investigate whether the app poses "national security risks," citing Chinese laws that "compel Chinese companies to support and cooperate with intelligence work controlled by the Chinese Communist Party."

TikTok has repeatedly denied suggestions that it transfers user data to Beijing or is at risk of being compelled to so. The company last week said that it would pull its service in Hong Kong following Beijing's approval of a controversial national security law. 

“We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked," a TikTok representative told The Hill following Pompeo's remarks. 

--Updated at 10:45 a.m.