News and Commentary

Amazon Says Order For Employees To Delete TikTok Was ‘Sent In Error’
Signage for ByteDance Ltd.'s TikTok app is displayed on a smartphone in an arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., on Tuesday, June 30, 2020. India's unprecedented decision to ban 59 of China’s largest apps is a warning to China's tech giants, who for years thrived behind a government-imposed Great Firewall that kept out many of America’s best-known internet names. 
Gabby Jones / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Soon after Amazon reportedly sent an email to employees instructing them to delete the app TikTok over cybersecurity concerns, the company issued a statement saying that the email was sent out by accident.

The New York Times first reported on the original email, which instructed employees to delete the social media app by Friday due to unspecified cybersecurity concerns that could arise from phones with access to the company’s email accounts.

“Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email,” said the company in an email obtained by the Times. “If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by 10-Jul to retain mobile access to Amazon email. At this time, using TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser is allowed.”

After reports of the purported policy change spread, Amazon told The Verge in a statement that there was no policy change, and the email was sent out by mistake.

“This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error,” said the spokesperson. “There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

After the development, The Verge reports that a spokesperson for TikTok responded: “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.”

But Tiktok, wildly popular among GenZ as a video-sharing app, has increasingly been the focus of privacy concerns among policy makers and government officials. In fact, The New York Times reports the app “has long been a concern of American intelligence officials, who fear the social networking app is a thinly veiled data collection service.”

The Times reports:

Last month, a researcher 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 researcher began posting the findings on the online message board Reddit.

The researcher, who goes by the handle Bangorlol, also said that TikTok was capturing data about a user’s phone hardware and data on other apps installed on the phone. Many of these abilities are found in other apps, but TikTok’s developers had gone out of their way to prevent anyone from analyzing the app, the researcher said.

During an appearance on Fox News, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that only people who want their “private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party” should download the app.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) released a statement after Amazon’s email was publicly disclosed saying “the whole federal government should follow suit.”

Back in March, Hawley introduced legislation to ban the social media app from government devices, citing security concerns, the company’s ties to China, and its alleged data collection practices.

The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Amazon Says Order For Employees To Delete TikTok Was ‘Sent In Error’