Why has Amazon told employees to delete TikTok?

According to a report by the New York Times, Amazon employees have been asked to remove the popular app TikTok from their mobile phones due to “security risks”. 

Amazon said on Twitter, “Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email. If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by 10-Jul to retain mobile access to Amazon email. At this time, using TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser is allowed.” 

Amazon hasn’t specified what risks the app poses. However, its security has been questioned recently after Amazon noticed a number of glitches. 

What are the concerns? 

TikTok is a China-based, short-form video app which is rapidly growing in popularity. In December, it gained 75 million new users, which is a 275% increase from the 20 million signups in December 2017. 

The app itself is sometimes referred to as a “lip-syncing” app, similar to karaoke. It has shorter videos than YouTube, but longer than Snapchat or Instagram. 

However, concerns have been raised over the privacy and security of users, after tech company Bytedance, which owns the platform, was found to have accessed clipboard data without permission when the app was running in the background. 

TikTok’s response 

TikTok representatives state that they’re not sure what Amazon deems to be a risk, and they don’t know why they want employees to remove the app. However, they say they are willing to discuss the issue further. 

A spokesperson for TikTok said last month that the company is “committed to protecting users’ privacy and being transparent about how our app works.” 

They added, “Following the beta release of iOS 14 on June 22, users saw notifications while using a number of popular apps. For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior.”

“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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