Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Amazon, citing security risks, told its employees Friday to uninstall social video app TikTok from any mobile devices they use to access their work email.

Why it matters: The move comes amid a broader backlash against TikTok, in part due to questions around possible ties to Beijing. TikTok is owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance.

What they're saying: "Due to security risk, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email," Amazon said in the note, which was seen by Axios.

  • The note said for the time being workers can still access TikTok via the browser on their work laptops.
  • "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," TikTok said in a statement, per Yahoo Finance's Daniel Roberts.
  • An Amazon representative was not immediately available for comment.

Context: Broad concerns about Chinese government influence on ByteDance have periodically given way weeks to more specific security concerns raised around TikTok.

  • A new privacy feature in the next version of Apple's iOS recently revealed that TikTok, alongside a number of other apps, was accessing material users had copied to their device clipboards without their knowledge or consent. TikTok said it would halt the practice.
  • Cybersecurity researchers in the past have found flaws in TikTok that hackers could exploit to steal user information. TikTok has said it has patched such holes as they've been discovered.

The Trump administration is considering banning TikTok over national security concerns. India, which is locked in a border conflict with China, announced last week that it will do just that.

Update: Late Friday Amazon released a statement saying: "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.”

Go deeper: TikTok caught in a U.S.-China vise

Go deeper

The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
Sep 20, 2020 - Technology

Judge temporarily halts Trump's WeChat ban

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A federal judge early on Sunday temporarily blocked a Trump administration order banning downloads of the Chinese-owned global messaging app WeChat.

Why it matters: The temporary injunction means WeChat will remain on Apple's and Google's app stores, despite a Commerce Department order to remove the app by Sunday evening.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fight over a new Supreme Court justice will take Washington's partisan bickering to a new level and undermine any chance for needed coronavirus relief measures before November's election, Wall Street analysts say.

What we're hearing: "With the passing of Justice Ginsburg, the level of rhetorical heat has increased, if that seemed even possible," Greg Staples, head of fixed income for the Americas at DWS Group, tells Axios in an email.

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