Amazon told employees on Friday to remove the social video app TikTok from their mobile devices, citing “security risks," however by late in the afternoon, a company spokesperson said the message had been "sent in error."
In a statement to Cheddar, an Amazon spokesperson said, "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."
According to images circulating on social media, the e-commerce giant said in a staff memo that U.S. employees must delete the app from any devices used to access their work email by Friday, or lose mobile access to their email.
“Due to security risks, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email,” the memo said, according to a copy of the email tweeted by New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz.
Workers will apparently still be allowed to view the platform from their laptop browser, according to the message.
The announcement comes days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration was “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese apps, calling them a threat to national security.
When asked whether U.S. citizens should download the social app, Pompeo told Fox News on Monday, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, has said all its U.S. user data is stored in servers in the United States, with a backup in Singapore. The short-form video app said Tuesday it will stop operations in Hong Kong "in light of recent events,” and is assessing the implications of China’s newly passed national security law over the autonomous region.
In response to Amazon’s ban, TikTok reportedly said in a statement on Friday it is committed to respecting the privacy of its users.
“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.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to Cheddar’s request for comment.
Story updated on July 10 with Amazon response.