Amazon tells employees to remove TikTok from phones

The TikTok logo is displayed on a phone screen in this illustrated photo taken in Krakow, Poland on November 13, 2019. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Amazon sent an email to employees on Friday, asking them to remove TikTok from their mobile devices before July 10 due to unspecified “security risks”, according to an email obtained by CNBC. However, the company later told the media that the email was sent in error and that it is not actually changing its policy towards TikTok.

“If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by July 10 to retain mobile access to Amazon email,” said the email, which was seen by CNBC. “At this time, it is allowed to use TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser.”

However, on Friday afternoon, an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC: “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error. There are no changes to our policies at this time regarding TikTok.”

The move comes as TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, is under increasing scrutiny from Washington. Due to its ownership, American politicians are concerned about TikTok’s links to China and the potential for the Chinese government to access user data.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the United States is “watching” the TikTok ban, warning that if users download the app, they risk having their “private information in the hands of the Communist Party.”

TikTok previously said that it stores the data of US users on servers located in the US and Singapore, while its data centers are outside of China.

A TikTok spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company values ​​the user’s security and privacy.

“While Amazon did not contact us prior to sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so that we can address any issues they may have and allow their team to continue to participate in our community,” said the spokesman. . “We are proud that tens of millions of Americans turn to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration and connection, including many of Amazon’s employees and contractors who have been at the forefront of this pandemic.”

To update: This story has been updated to reflect that the previous email was sent in error, according to an Amazon spokesperson.

CLOCK: Pompeo on the possible TikTok ban