Amazon says memo to employees BANNING TikTok for security reasons was 'sent in error'

Roughly five hours after an internal email went out Friday to Amazon employees telling them to delete the popular video app TikTok from their phones, the online retailing giant appeared to backtrack, calling the ban a mistake.

‘This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error,’ Amazon emailed reporters just before 5pm Eastern time. ‘There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.’

Company spokeswoman Jaci Anderson declined to answer questions about what caused the confounding turnaround or error.

An Amazon employee who confirmed receipt of the initial email but was not authorized to speak publicly had not seen a retraction at the time of Amazon’s backtrack. 

Earlier on Friday, the memo surfaced online and requested ‘all staff’ remove the app from mobile devices with access to Amazon emails by July 10.

The e-commerce giant cited ‘security risks’ as the reason for the ban, but notes staff can continue to use TikTok from their Amazon laptop browser. 

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A memo surfaced online that requested 'all staff' remove the app from mobile devices with access to Amazon emails by July 10. An Amazon spokesperson later revealed that the memo was 'sent in error'

A memo surfaced online that requested ‘all staff’ remove the app from mobile devices with access to Amazon emails by July 10. An Amazon spokesperson later revealed that the memo was ‘sent in error’

A TikTok spokesperson told in an email: ‘User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok – we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users.’ 

‘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.’ 

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 ‘We’re proud that tens of millions of Americans turn to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration, and connection, including many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.’ has reached out to Amazon for comment and has yet to receive a response.  

The note is said to have been sent to all of Amazon’s staff, which must delete the app by Friday in order to continue access to their emails.  

Amazon may have been concerned about a Chinese-owned app’s access to employee data because the U.S. government says China regularly steals U.S. intellectual property, said Susan Ariel Aaronson, a professor at George Washington University and a data governance and national-security expert.

Part of Amazon’s motivation with the ban, now apparently reversed, may also have been political, Aaronson said, since Amazon “doesn’t want to alienate the Trump administration.”

Seattle-based Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos, are frequent targets of Trump. Bezos personally owns The Washington Post, which Trump has called “fake news.” Last year, Amazon sued the U.S. government, saying that Trump’s “personal vendetta” against Amazon, Bezos and the Post led it to lose a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the Pentagon to rival Microsoft. Meanwhile, federal regulators as well as Congress are pursuing antitrust investigations at Amazon as well as other tech giants. 

TikTok allows its users to publish short-form mobile videos and showcase their creativity to the app’s 800 million members.

However, the Chinese firm has come under fire as being a threat to national security in the US and other countries around the world.

Last month, India banned the app following a deadly border conflict between the country and China, which resulted in 20 Indian soldiers losing their lives during hand-to-hand combat.

This is not the first time that TikTok has been banned in India.

It was banned briefly last year after concerns were raised about the app being used to distribute pornography.

The ban was lifted after a few weeks, but reinstated June 29. 

The news comes just four days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was ‘looking into’ banning TikTok because it poses a threat to national security.

Pompeo told Fox News’ Laura Ingram Monday that he and President Trump are taking claims that the app collects users’ cellphone data and then shares the information directly with Beijing ‘very seriously’.

The comments were made by Pompeo when quizzed about whether the United States should be considering a ban on Chinese social media apps, ‘especially TikTok.’

‘With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right,’ Pompeo said. ‘I don’t want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it’s something we’re looking at.’

The top Washington diplomat added that Americans should only download the app ‘if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.’

Other than bans looming over TikTok, the app experienced a worldwide outage Thursday that affected tens of thousands of users.

Around 2pm ET, reports surfaced that all video likes had mysteriously reset to zero – sending users into a frenzy.

However, some had raised concerns that TikTok may have completely shut down, as there has been rumors in the past that it would one day come to an end amid increased governmental scrutiny.

The issues were eventually resolved later that evening.



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