Amazon asked employees to remove the popular social video-sharing app TikTok from their mobile devices on Friday, as first reported by The New York Times.
“Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email,” the company said in an email to employees Friday morning. “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.” The email was obtained and independently published by multiple reporters on Twitter.
TikTok was recently caught accessing user clipboard data when running in the background, potentially exposing passwords or other sensitive data. The behavior was revealed because of a new feature in iOS 14, and it’s unclear how long it had been present in the app. TikTok has since removed the feature, but the privacy scare underscored long-standing privacy concerns over the app, which is owned by the China-based Bytedance.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the Trump administration is “looking at” banning TikTok. It’s not entirely clear how the administration could go about banning the app, and it has yet to act on Pompeo’s statement. Still, the confusion and recent glitches have thrown the TikTok community into a state of confusion worrying about whether the app will be removed in the US.
A TikTok spokesperson responded to Amazon’s decision to order employees to remove the app, saying in a statement, “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.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.