Amazon email banning TikTok on employee phones was an 'error' (updated)

The company now says employees received an email banning the app by mistake.

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Amazon has requested that all of its employees delete the TikTok app from their phones citing security concerns. According to the New York Times, the company email stated that the app is now prohibited from all employee phones that can “access Amazon email,” and that employees need to remove the app by Friday in order for email access to continue. (Update: A company spokesperson now says that the email was sent “in error.”)

TikTok has been under increased scrutiny lately. The app, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, was banned in India last month. More recently, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the US could ban Chinese apps like TikTok due to the potential threat to national security.

TikTok itself also pulled out of the Hong Kong market on Monday, citing a new Chinese national security law that would make it impossible to use. Despite TikTok being based in China, the country itself does not have access to the app. The company has even decided to stop employing Chinese moderators and claimed that none of its data is stored in China. TikTok has also taken pains to say that a lot of its business and data decisions are made outside China, a move which the company hopes will alleviate any concern that it’s controlled by the Chinese government.

Amazon has reportedly said in the email that employees can still check TikTok on their laptop browsers.

Update (5 PM ET): In a statement to Engadget, an Amazon spokesperson said “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error. There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.” What was the error? Amazon did not specify, but for now at least, employees are not required to remove the app from their phones.