Amazon tells employees to remove TikTok from their devices immediately

In an email sent to employees on Friday morning and obtained by CNN, Amazon (AMZN) He said that due to “security risks, the TikTok app is no longer allowed on mobile devices that access Amazon email.”

Access to the TikTok from the company’s laptops is still allowed, according to the email, but mobile devices will be cut off from Amazon email unless the app is removed.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said 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,” added the spokesperson. “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.”

TikTok is a threat to national security, say American politicians.  This is what the experts think
The announcement points to the largest company that has yet to warn its TikTok employees of a possible security risk, after US politicians claimed the app could undermine national security due to its ties to China. Cybersecurity experts have been more cautious about that assessment.

TikTok is owned by the world’s most valuable startup, a Chinese company called ByteDance. But TikTok does not operate in China and functions as an independent subsidiary. TikTok has struggled to establish that distinction, recently appointing an American CEO, noting that its servers are located in the United States and are not subject to Chinese law.

Amazon is not the only organization that prohibits TikTok. The U.S. Army has blocked soldiers from installing the app, while some politicians, such as Senator Josh Hawley, have proposed banning TikTok from all U.S. government devices.

On Friday, the Democratic National Committee warned Democratic campaigns, committees and States parties to take additional safety precautions when using TikTok. In an email obtained by CNN, the DNC security team wrote: “We continue to advise campaign staff to refrain from using TikTok on personal devices. If you are using TikTok for campaign work, we recommend that you use a phone and a separate account. ”

The DNC suggested that the campaigns in a memorandum in December not use TikTok, citing concerns about the “Chinese ties to the app and possibly sending data to the Chinese government.”

Amazon’s decision is notable given that it has previously been announced on the platform. In April, for example, Amazon posted a sponsored post on TikTok for a Jonas Brothers concert that aired on Amazon Prime Video, according to Rich Greenfield, a media industry analyst at LightShed Partners.

TikTok has been downloaded 165 million times in the US and has become a key part of the Internet and popular culture, serving as a platform for viral memes, political satire, and activism.

Donie O’Sullivan contributed to this report.