The Chinese video sharing app TikTok was first banned and then unbanned within hours from the mobile phones of its employees by Amazon last week. The largest e-copmmerce company of the world said that the move was done by mistake.
There was widespread attention for the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok by the move by Amazon as the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said in the same week that the government was “certainly looking at” banning TikTok because it is believed that the company shared private information about its millions of US users with the Chinese government.
According to reports, there were no reasons provided about the initial decision of Amazon to ban the app. However reports quoted Amazon sources saying that the senior Amazon executives were not aware of the request to delete TikTok from employee devices.
Report also quoted an email sent to TikTok employees, after discussion on the issue between TikTok and Amazon representatives, the ban was reversed by Amazon.
But the attention that this move got underscores the scrutiny that this app, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, has been subjected to in recent days.
Issues that include question rising over the manner in which the company handles user data have been scrutinized by various governments across the world. The app is among the fastest growing digital platforms ever.
India banned TikTok and other 568 other Chinese apps in June.
Private data of its users of the United States is stored in the country with a backup copy in Singapore, the company has said. The majority of user data of the app is stored in the Google Cloud in its Virginia-based data center, said reports quoting sources familiar with the matter.
There was no comment available from TikTok.
However the issue of a possible ban on TikTok in the United States was raised by Pompeo.
“Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said in a television interview when he was asked if Americans should download the app.
Members of the Republican National Committee of the US were asked not o down the app last week. And its guidance issued to members in December of not downloading the app was reiterated by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Friday.
Banning TikTok from government-issued mobile devices as done by the United States Navy last year and said that the app was a “cybersecurity threat.”
The acquisition of US social media app Musical.ly by TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co’s in a deal worth $1 billion was subjected to a national security review by the US government last November.
According to reports, ByteDance has taken steps to shift its center of power away from China so that it could address concerns over its Chinese ownership. Sources also claimed that same reasons are also promoting the company to make changes to the corporate structure of TikTok.
(Adapted from NDTV.com)