Amazon Says App Email Was a Mistake

Employees were told to ditch TikTok on mobile devices used to access company email accounts
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2020 3:35 PM CDT
Updated Jul 10, 2020 5:15 PM CDT
Drop TikTok, Amazon Tells Its Workers
Amazon told employees to delete the popular video app TikTok from their phones on which they use Amazon email, then backtracked.   (AP Photo/File)

Amazon told its employees Friday to remove TikTok from their mobile devices if they want to keep using them to get to their company email. The company cited security risks, the Wall Street Journal reports. But later in the day, Amazon sent another email, per the AP. "This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error," said the second email, sent just before 5pm EDT. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok." This will only add to TikTok's confusion; the company said it wasn't warned about the first decision and didn't understand it. "We welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have," a spokeswoman said. TikTok recently has drawn attention over security concerns. The Army has prohibited the app on its phones, and there's a movement in Congress to do the same for all government devices, per CNET.

Sen. Josh Hawley said in March that TikTok "admitted it collects user data while their app is running in the background—including the messages people send, pictures they share, their keystrokes and location data." Other apps do that, too, while drawing less scrutiny. Experts say that could be because they're not owned by Chinese companies; TikTok is owned by Bytedance. "I found nothing unusual for this kind of app with such a user base," a French security expert said. "This is bad in terms of privacy, for sure. But in terms of security, it's not worse than the other apps." Hawley retweeted an article Friday about Amazon's decision, per Business Insider, adding, "Now the whole federal government should follow suit." (Mike Pompeo said the US is "taking this very seriously.")

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