Update, July 10 (5:00 pm ET): NBC reporter Kevin Collier has received an email from Amazon that says this message was sent "in error".
What you need to know
- Amazon is requiring that its employees delete the TikTok app from their smartphones.
- The company calls out "security risks" as the reason for its decision.
- TikTok has found itself at the center of endless scrutiny as of late.
The popular social network app TikTok just can't seem to catch a break. Following relentless pushback from both India and the United States, The New York Times is now reporting that Amazon is requiring all of its employees to delete TikTok from any phones that are connected to their Amazon work emails.
Per the report:
In the email, which was obtained by The New York Times, Amazon officials said that employees must delete the app from any devices that "access Amazon email." Employees had to remove the app by Friday to remain able to obtain mobile access to their Amazon email, the note said. Amazon workers are still allowed to view TikTok from their laptop browser, the company added.
Amazon is citing "security risks" for its reasoning behind this decision, though no specifics about those risks are mentioned. TikTok responded to the move, saying:
While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue.
For some perspective as to what kind of implications this has for TikTok's userbase, there are roughly 500,000 Amazon employees in the United States. That's not to say every single employee has (well, had) the TikTok app on their phone, but it's still a good chunk of people.
If you've been keeping your eyes on news headlines over the past week or so, you'll know this is far from the first time TikTok has found itself in the hot seat. It all started on June 29 when India banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps from the country, with the Indian government saying that the apps are, "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state, and public order."
Amazon isn't the first entity to come out against TikTok, and it won't be the last.
United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, told Fox News on July 7 that the U.S. government was also "looking at" banning TikTok in the country. Tensions are high between the U.S. and China, with the recent attacks on TikTok being the latest result of that.
TikTok has repeatedly said that it respects user privacy and data, but that doesn't seem to have helped it at all. We've even started to see this worry trickle down to individual users, with Fortnite streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins saying that he had deleted TikTok and was looking for a "less intrusive company (data farming)" app that "isn't owned by China."
This latest move from Amazon will likely be far from the last of this ongoing feud between TikTok and the U.S., so we'll have to keep our eyes peeled for what happens from here.