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From the New York Times:

"Amazon on Friday asked its employees to delete the Chinese-owned video app TikTok from their cellphones, putting the tech giant at the center of growing suspicion and paranoia about the app.

"Almost five hours later, Amazon reversed course, saying the email to workers was sent in error.

"In the initial email, which was obtained by the New York Times, Amazon officials said that because of 'security risks,' employees must delete the app from any devices that 'access Amazon email.'  Employees had to remove the app by Friday to remain able to obtain mobile access to their Amazon email, the note said.

"In a statement sent later on Friday, company spokeswoman Kristin Brown said, 'There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.'

"But by then, the initial email had already added to the storm surrounding TikTok, which has been popular with young audiences in the United States for its short, fun videos and is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance. Because of its Chinese ownership and heightened tensions between the United States and China over issues such as trade and technology dominance, TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny in Washington over its security."

The story continues:

"TikTok has long been a concern of American intelligence officials, who fear the social networking app is a thinly veiled data collection service. Over the past six months, security researchers have only furthered those concerns with a series of discoveries.

"Last month, a researcher uncovered that TikTok had the ability to siphon off anything a user copied to a clipboard on a smartphone — passwords, photos and other sensitive data like Social Security numbers, emails and texts. The researcher began posting the findings on the online message board Reddit.

"The researcher, who goes by the handle Bangorlol, also said that TikTok was capturing data about a user’s phone hardware and data on other apps installed on the phone. Many of these abilities are found in other apps, but TikTok’s developers had gone out of their way to prevent anyone from analyzing the app, the researcher said."