Amazon has requested that its employees delete TikTok—the popular Chinese-owned app—from their cell phones, reports The New York Times.
The company notified its employees over email that they must delete the app from devices that “access Amazon email”, due to “security risks.” Employees would lose access to their email if they did not delete the app by Friday. The company noted that employees may however, still view the app on their laptop browser.
TikTok is owned by a Chinese tech company called ByteDance and is very popular, especially among younger people in the United States. Washington has been very critical of the app due to its ownership.
On Monday, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration is thinking about blocking certain Chinese apps, maintaining that they are a national security threat.
“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” Trump said when asked about Pompeo’s remarks. “It’s a big business. Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.”
TikTok announced on Monday that it would be withdrawing from Hong Kong stores after China enacted a new national security law. The company added that the app will become inoperable for users there in a matter of days.
A national security review of TikTok has been opened by the U.S. government. The app has been downloaded over 750 million times in the last year—which is more than Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Snapchat. It has approximately 1.5 billion total downloads along with 800 million active users.
The company has access to “locations, ages, private messages, phone numbers, contacts, genders, browsing histories, cell phone serial numbers, and IP addresses.”
“While we cannot comment on ongoing regulatory processes, TikTok has made clear that we have no higher priority than earning the trust of users and regulators in the U.S.,” said a ByteDance spokesman in an email. “Part of that effort includes working with Congress, and we are committed to doing so.” He added that TikTok does not send user data to China.