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Amazon bans TikTok citing “security risks,” then says it was all a mistake

Amazon ordered employees to delete TikTok from their phones today, citing “security risks.”

Amazon’s email to employees did not specify what security risks the company is worried about or whether TikTok has already caused a security problem internally. Last month research found TikTok’s app was able to read clipboard data on iOS devices. TikTok said it will stop accessing users’ clipboards.

“Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email,” a message from Amazon’s IT department to employees said. “If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by 10-Jul to retain mobile access to Amazon email. At this time, using TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser is allowed.”

Later on, on the same day, Amazon issued a statement saying “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.”

Amazon’s retracted policy applied to employees’ phones with a narrow window to remove the app in order to retain access to their Amazon email. Accessing TikTok from their laptops’ browser was still allowed, however.

A TikTok spokesman responded to Amazon’s decision stating, “While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community.”

Amazon did not explain its reasoning to TikTok, a TikTok spokesperson said “While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community,” TikTok’s statement said.

The statement also said that “[u]ser security is of the utmost importance to TikTok we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users.” TikTok further noted that its users include “many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

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