TikTok: Amazon says email asking staff to remove app ‘sent in error’

TikTok logo on screen.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Amazon has said an email sent to employees asking them to remove the video-sharing app TikTok from any mobile device that can access their company email was sent in error.

An internal memo sent to staff earlier on Friday had said employees should delete the app over “security risks”.

The app, owned by a Chinese company, has come under scrutiny because of fears it could share data with China.

TikTok said it did not understand Amazon’s concerns.

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

But earlier on Friday, a memo sent to staff seen by multiple news outlets stated that the app must be removed from mobile devices.

“Due to security risk, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email.

“If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by July 10 to retain mobile access to Amazon email”, it read.

TikTok said the company had not received any communication from Amazon before the email went out.

“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,” TikTok said.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionWATCH: Fans are accusing TikTok creators of exploiting them for cash

TikTok was launched outside mainland China by Beijing-based ByteDance to reach a global audience. It increased its popularity during the global coronavirus lockdowns with about 315 million people downloading the app in the first three months of this year, according to research firm Sensor Tower.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an Australian member of parliament have recently suggested the app needs more scrutiny over its data and privacy policies because its headquarters are in China.

Mr Pompeo has banned Department of State employees from downloading the app and suggested it could also be banned in the US.