On Friday 10 July, Amazon had demanded its employees to stop using TikTok on their phones by deleting it permanently. An email was sent out to all employees earlier which stated TikTok as a potential security threat to Amazon, on all those devices through which Amazon email is accessed. The devices particularly called out in the email were mobile phones and not laptops. It also mentioned that mobile phones that do not remove TikTok immediately, shall be blocked from accessing Amazon email.
The spokesperson of Tiktok expressed their concerns and confusion by saying that Amazon should have communicated prior to sending out the email to all its employees. The spokesperson also stated that millions of Americans are TikTok users, and therefore direct communication by Amazon would have been highly appreciated. It was also added by TikTok that they do not have access and power over the servers everywhere, and therefore there is no security threat or mishandling of data possible.
While TikTok remains a very popular app, under the Chinese company ByteDance, it has not been enjoying a good reputation with organisations in the United States. Although it has had over 165 million downloads in the States and popular for viral memes and activism, lately it has been under fire. Policymakers in the U.S. government such as Josh Hawley, have suggested the app be banned on all government devices and the U.S. military has also prevented its soldiers from installing the app. The Democratic National Committee also has the same opinions and views.
According to a researcher in the American Intelligence, TikTok as the power to even sift through the sensitive contents on a user's clipboard like passwords, screenshots, numbers, texts or literally anything else. The researcher, by the handle Bangorlol posted about his analysis on Reddit and added that TikTok is basically an undercover app for data collection of users. He suggested that many other apps are doing the same but conducting an analysis on TikTok is very difficult.
Despite all this, the spokesperson for Amazon later labelled the email as an error and said that no policy change is being made regarding TikTok.