SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF / CNN) — Wells Fargo has banned the social media app TikTok from company devices amid what it says are concerns about security.
In a statement to CNN Business on Monday, a spokesperson said the San Francisco-based company had identified a “small number of employees with corporate-owned devices who had installed the TikTok application.”
“Due to concerns about TikTok’s privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices,” the statement said.
The ban was first reported by The Information. TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Wells Fargo announcement comes at a time of renewed scrutiny of TikTok — including talk of a possible ban from the Trump administration — due to its ties to China. The short-form video app, which has been downloaded 165 million times in the US, is owned by the world’s most valuable startup, a Chinese company called ByteDance.
On Friday, Amazon sent an email to employees to delete TikTok immediately from work phones or risk being cut off from corporate email. But hours later, Amazon said the email had been sent “in error.”
After Amazon sent the initial email on Friday, TikTok told CNN Business it is fully committed to respecting the privacy of its users.
“We’re proud that tens of millions of Americans turn to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration, and connection, including many of the Amazon employees and contractors who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic,” a company spokesperson told CNN.
Separately, both the Democratic and Republican national committees warned their staffs about using the app.
US policymakers have previously sounded alarms about the potential for TikTok to be a security risk. A key concern, according to politicians including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as well as Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley, is the possibility that TikTok data could be handed over to the Chinese government. US cybersecurity experts say the reality is more complicated.
TikTok has said that data pertaining to US users is stored in the US and not subject to Chinese laws. It has also hired an American CEO and may undergo corporate changes to distance itself from China.
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