Amazon has walked back an employee mandate to delete Chinese app TikTok from mobile phones, saying the direction sent on Friday morning was “in error”.
In a statement to The Independent, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed employees would still be able to use the app on phones that accessed company email services.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier on Friday, an email was sent from Amazon’s IT Services department to employees requiring the mandatory removal of TikTok from cell phones by 10 July due to “security risks”.
While TikTok would need to be removed to continue using Amazon email on phones, the note said the Chinese app could still be used on Amazon laptop browsers.
In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said Amazon has not communicated with them and they do not understand the Seattle company’s concerns.
“We welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community,” the spokesman said.
The apparent error came just days after secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the US was “certainly looking at” a ban on TikTok and other Chinese social media apps amid concerns over national security.
Owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, TikTok has come under increased scrutiny and privacy concerns after it was caught accessing user clipboard dater when running in the background, granting potential access to passwords and other data.