Following reports that Amazon has instructed all employees to delete the Chinese-owned video app TikTok from their cellphones over “security risks,” via a company email, Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant claimed that the email was sent in “error.”
The New York Times reports that e-commerce giant Amazon has instructed its employees to delete the Chinese-owned video and social media app TikTok from their mobile devices over “security risks,” according to an email sent to employees this week. In the email, Amazon officials instructed employees to delete the app from any devices that “access Amazon email.” Following the publication of the story, Amazon responded that the email was sent in error. An Amazon spokesperson told the Times: “There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”
Employees were told in the email to remove the app by Friday of this week in order to remain able to obtain mobile access to their Amazon email. Amazon workers were told they still have permission to view TikTok from their laptop browser. The announcement comes just weeks after an iPhone update revealed that TikTok was spying on millions of Americans by viewing the contents of their iPhone clipboards.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and has faced intense scrutiny in Washingtons for security reasons due to its ownership. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently advised all Americans not to download the app unless they want their private information to fall into “the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.” Pompeo stated on Monday that the Trump administration is considering blocking some Chinese apps, which he says are a threat to national security.
TikTok announced late on Monday that it would be withdrawing from Hong Kong where a new national security law from China was enacted. It was recently reported that TikTok has begun evaluating changes to the corporate structure of its business in order to avoid scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers.
Executives have reportedly begun discussing options for the company, such as the creation of a new management board for TikTok as well as establishing a separate headquarters outside of China in efforts to distance itself from its Beijing operations.
Currently, TikTok does not have separate headquarters from its Chinese owner Bytedance, which was founded in China and incorporated in the Cayman Islands. TikTok is reportedly considering a number of locations for its global base. The company’s five largest offices are already based in Los Angeles, New York, London, Dublin, and Singapore.
Breitbart News has asked Amazon for comment on the potential TikTok ban and how the company emailed its staff “in error.”
Update — This article has been updated to include the fact that Amazon claims the email was sent in error and that it has not changed its corporate stance on TikTok.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org