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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 9, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Amazon shows off its new Rivian electric delivery van

Screenshot of Amazon video about its electric vans.

Amazon has taken the wraps off the first electric delivery van developed with the Rivian, the EV startup slated to begin mass producing vehicles for the e-commerce giant.

Why it matters: It shows that Amazon is moving to turn its pledge to be carbon neutral by 2040 into concrete steps and technology deployment.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.