Amazon Says Its Email Telling Employees To Delete TikTok Was Sent By Mistake

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“There’s been a lot of fear and speculation about this app, but the recent findings are raising big questions.”

According to The New York Times, after Amazon asked its employees to delete the Chinese-owned video app TikTok from their phones, five hours later the tech giant “reversed course, saying the email to workers was sent in error.”

In the initial email, Amazon officials said that due to “security risks,” employees must delete TikTok from any devices that “access Amazon email,” The Times reported. “Employees had to remove the app by Friday to remain able to obtain mobile access to their Amazon email.”

However, in a statement sent later on Friday, company spokeswoman Kristin Brown said, “There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

But by then, the initial email had already “added to the storm surrounding Tiktok,” which is popular among young audiences for “its short, fun videos and is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance.”

“Because of its Chinese ownership and heightened tensions between the United States and China over issues such as trade and technology dominance, TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny in Washington over its security,” The Times wrote.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the Trump administration was considering “blocking some Chinese apps, which he has called a threat to national security,” the report continued.

Last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which is a federal panel that reviews foreign acquisitions of American firms on national security grounds, “opened a national security review of ByteDance’s acquisition of the American company, Musical.ly, which eventually became TikTok,” The Times stated. “In December, the Defense Department began telling military personnel to delete the app from government-issued phones,” and the Democratic National Committee also “warned campaigns, committees and state parties about TikTok’s ‘Chinese ties and potentially sending data back to the Chinese government.’”

Last month, a researcher who goes by the handle Bangorlol on Reddit “uncovered that TikTok had the ability to siphon off anything a user copied to a clipboard on a smartphone — passwords, photos and other sensitive data like Social Security numbers, emails and texts,” The Times wrote. In addition, it was revealed that TikTok’s developers “had gone out of their way to prevent anyone from analyzing the app.”

The app, which has been downloaded roughly two billion times worldwide with about 170 million of those downloads from users in the US, has been viewed as a competitive threat by some American internet companies such as Facebook. Further investigations will be conducted on grounds of national security concerns.

Read the full report here.

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