In what was the most bizzare day for the TikTok-Amazon relationship (if there is any), the ecommerce website banned and then unbanned the social media platform from employees’ mobile phones in a matter of hours.
The company said in a strongly worded email that employees have to uninstall the app on any devices where they “access Amazon email,” New York Times reported. In fact, company employees were given an ultimatum, where they had to uninstall the app by Friday itself to continue to obtain mobile access to the aforementioned email accounts. However the email said that employees can still access the app from their laptop, using a web browser, if they so please.
“Due to security risk, the TikTok app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email. If you have TikTok on your device, you must remove it by 10-Jul to retain mobile access to Amazon email. At this time, using TikTok from your Amazon laptop browser is allowed,”the email read.
TikTok was clearly bothered by the move, and expressed its wish to establish a dialogue with Amazon to talk things out. “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,” the company responded in a statement.
Later, the companies did have a meeting and patch things up, according to an email sent to Amazon employees.
It’s unclear what led to the initial ban in the first place, and what was said in the meeting that led to the ban being uplifted. However, for now, things have cooled down between the two companies.
TikTok has been in crosshairs of lawmakers around the world, and has invited massive scrutiny from agencies over security concerns. The situation got so dire that India, TikTok’s biggest market, decided to ban the app from the country, a move that has put a big dent in the app’s reputation. Moreover, U.S. and Australia are planning to follow suite, and are reconsidering a complete ban. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this week that while he “didn’t want to get ahead of the President,” a ban is very much in the cards.
Due to this massive global rebuttal of its relations with China, ByteDance has apparently decided to distance itself from the country, and is looking to establish a new headquarters somewhere else. Moreover, it filed its second transparency report just a couple of days back, in order to win public approval. However, all of that seems to be going in vain.
U.S. and TikTok have had a rocky past, with the country accusing the platform of sending personal user data to China multiple times over the years. U.S. Navy personnel were asked to get rid of the app from their phones last year, claiming it to be a “cybersecurity threat,” way before the massive TikTok ban of today was a thing.
Moreover, with the great response that Instagram Reels has gotten from the Indian market, it’s possible that Mark Zuckerberg might finally decide to roll out the feature globally, a move that will jeopardize TikTok’s position as the top app for the content type.