Amazon Not Forcing Employees to Delete TikTok After All
Update 5:10 p.m., July 10: After news broke that Amazon had instructed its employees in an email to remove the TikTok app from their phones, Amazon issued a statement saying the email was sent in error and that there is no change in their policy regarding TikTok after all.
As prominent TikTok creators scramble to save the app from the Trump administration’s threat, Amazon has instituted a ban of its own. In a company-wide email, Amazon has instructed its employees to remove the app from any devices that “access Amazon email,” citing security risks. (The memo notes, however, that employees using TikTok on their desktop—a task that’s arguably more difficult than it’s worth—is still okay.)
The memo requires employees to remove the app right away, and warns that their access to email will be revoked if they failed to comply. This comes after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the Trump administration was “looking at” banning Chinese apps like TikTok due to privacy concerns, causing mass hysteria on the app (ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is headquartered in Beijing).
"User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok – we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users,” a spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement. “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. We're proud that tens of millions of Americans turn to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration, and connection, including many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic."
Amazon’s move is somewhat ironic, given that Amazon Prime and Amazon Fashion both have verified accounts on TikTok, and the company was apparently an early advertiser on the app. TikTok also features many Amazon shopping videos hashtagged #amazonfinds, which have received over one and a half billion views, per stats on the app.
TikTokkers have already overcome barriers to use the app. Prisoners, for one, have risked serious consequences in order to post about their conditions. With the Trump administration’s threat to ban the app, there have been whispers of American users moving over to Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, also owned by ByteDance. Or, users can wait for Instagram’s answer to TikTok, Reels, to come to the U.S. The “renegade” must go on.