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Amazon bans TikTok on workers' phones due to security risks

Amazon.com asks its employees to remove TikTok from their phones. An internal email allegedly barred the workers from keeping the video sharing app on their phones citing security risks.

New Delhi Updated on: July 11, 2020 0:51 IST
TikTok banned in Amazon
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Amazon.com bars employees to keep TikTok app on their phones

Amazon has told employees to delete the popular video app TikTok from phones on which they use Amazon email, citing security risks from the China-owned app, according to reports and posts by Twitter users who said they were Amazon employees. The notice said employees must delete the app by Friday to keep access to Amazon email. Workers would still be allowed to use TikTok from an Amazon laptop browser.

Amazon is the second-largest US private employer after Walmart, with with more than 840,000 employees worldwide. Amazon did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

In an emailed statement, TikTok said that Amazon did not notify it before sending the email. “We still do not understand their concerns,” it continued, adding that the company would welcome a dialogue to address Amazon''s issues.

Chinese internet giant ByteDance owns TikTok, which is designed for users outside of China, as well as a Chinese version called Douyin. The app is popular with young people, including millions of American users, but is the subject of national security concerns.

TikTok has been trying to appease critics in the US and distance itself from its Chinese roots, but finds itself caught in an increasingly sticky geopolitical web.

Indian government has already banned 59 Chinese apps in the country amid security concerns.

A US national-security agency has been reviewing ByteDance's purchase of TikTok's precursor, Musical.ly, while US military branches banned the app from government-issued phones. Meanwhile, privacy groups say TikTok has been violating children's privacy, even after the Federal Trade Commission fined the company in 2019 for collecting personal information from children without their parents'' consent.

TikTok, like YouTube, relies on its users for the videos that populate its app. They are under a minute long, and many feature dancing and lip-syncing. TikTok has a reputation as a fun, goofy video destination, but it has racked up concerns ranging from censorship of videos, including those critical of the Chinese government, the threat of sharing user data with Chinese officials and violating kids' privacy.

TikTok has content-moderation policies, like any social network, but says its moderation team for the US is led out of California and it doesn''t censor videos based on topics sensitive to China and would not, even if the Chinese government asked it to.

(With inputs from AP)

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