Amazon has delivered a mea cupla.
Just hours after telling employees Friday morning that they must delete the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok from their work phones and any mobile devices that have access to Amazon email due to "security concerns," the company disclosed that was a mistake.
"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," an Amazon spokesperson told FOX Business.
The New York Times originally reported the news of the email Friday morning. The confusion from the e-commerce giant comes amid heightened security concerns connected to TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based technology company ByteDance.
TikTok said Friday that security and privacy are important to the company, and that Amazon hadn't reached out to them before sending the email.
"User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok – we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users," a TikTok spokesperson told FOX Business. "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,”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week that the Trump administration is considering banning TikTok over fears that the Chinese Communist Party could access data and monitor American citizens through it.
Vice President Mike Pence also said this week that the U.S. would stand up to Chinese companies that are a threat to national security.
“So these entities, whether it be Huawei and perhaps even TikTok, that represent a threat to the privacy and to the security of the country, we’ll continue to take a strong stand,” Pence told Fox News Tuesday.
U.S. officials are mostly concerned that TikTok would have no choice but to turn over data to the Chinese government if their intelligence services asked for it.
Article 7 of China’s 2017 National Security Law states that “any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work in accordance with the law, and maintain the secrecy of all knowledge of state intelligence work.”
TikTok has denied that they have ever given any information to the Chinese government.
"We have never provided the Chinese government with TikTok user data. It has never requested it, and we would not provide it if asked. Period,” a TikTok spokesperson previously told FOX Business Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that TikTok is considering changing its corporate structure to try to distance itself from Beijing. This could come in the form of establishing a headquarters outside of China or creating a new management board.
The popularity of the app has soared during shutdowns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower reported in April that TikTok's 315 million downloads in the first quarter of 2020 broke a record for most downloads by any app ever in one quarter. The app has more than two billion downloads globally.