Amazon Says Staff Email About Deleting TikTok Over Reported Security Risk Was 'Sent in Error'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said the U.S. was "looking at" banning the app
Amazon has announced a staff email about TikTok was "sent in error."
The company told staffers that TikTok had to be deleted from any device that had access to Amazon email in a note sent Friday that was obtained by The New York Times.
However, an Amazon spokesperson now tells PEOPLE in a statement, "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 company reportedly cited “security risks” associated with the app, and said that employees had to get rid of TikTok by Friday in order to keep mobile access to their Amazon email. They would be, however, still allowed to look at TikTok from their laptop browser, the company reportedly said in the initial email.
A spokesperson for TikTok told PEOPLE that Amazon did not communicate with them before making the initial announcement, but that the company hopes to open communication channels with Amazon moving forward.
“User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok — we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users,” the 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.”
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The spokesperson added that the company is “proud” that TikTok has become a source of “entertainment, inspiration and connection” for many, “including many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.”
TikTok, which allows users to share short videos featuring everything from dances and lip-syncing videos to viral jokes, was launched in 2016 and is owned by ByteDance, a tech company based in Beijing.
Though the company has maintained that it stores all U.S. user data in the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that the U.S. is considering banning it, along with other Chinese social media apps, due to national security concerns.
“I don’t want to get out in front of the president, but it’s something we’re looking at,” he told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “[I’d only recommend downloading it] if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese communist party.”
A TikTok spokesperson told CBS News at the time that the company has never provided user data to the Chinese government, and would not do so if asked. The spokesperson also confirmed to the outlet that the app’s operations in Hong Kong have ceased in light of a new security law backed by China that would ban treason, secession, sedition and subversion.
Plans to open a Transparency Center within the company were put on pause in May due to coronavirus.