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WHAT HAPPENS TO TIKTOK? (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Amazon now claims the email notifying employees to delete TikTok was sent out in error. The company is not demanding employees to delete the app. A spokesperson for Amazon said, "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok."


UPDATE: According to the New York Times, Amazon has notified their employees that they must delete TikTok from their phones (or any device they use to access Amazon email), citing security risks. Employees had to remove the app from their devices by Friday, 7/10. TikTok responded, saying, "While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue."


What many are referring to as the "TikTokalypse," users are beginning to panic that the world's most popular and influential app will get suspended or shut down in the U.S. Will users or major influencers jump ship?

While TikTok is in the midst of a shitstorm of attacks from U.S. watchdogs and big tech competitors, users are questioning the validity of the data infringement allegations and entertaining new apps in case it gets shut down.

Among the battles TikTok has faced recently: They announced they would pull the app from the Hong Kong market after China announced new security sanctions; last month, India banned TikTok and other Chinese apps from their country after a foreign affairs dispute; and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged the government is looking into banning the app. 

While parent company Bytedance's headquarters are in Beijing, the app has made efforts to distance itself from China with new offices in London and Los Angeles, along with bringing in ex-Disney streaming boss Kevin Mayer

In a statement, a spokesperson from TikTok maintains no foul play from China: "TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product and public policy in the U.S. We have no higher priority than providing a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked."

Although no major TikTok influencers have left the app or announced security concerns, on Thursday a glitch within the app—which froze "likes" and view counts on every video—incited a panic among users. Extremely popular gamer Ninja, announced on Thursday he deleted TikTok from his phone due to security concerns. He also seemed to champion a replacement app, Byte, created by Vine founder Dom Hoffman

Another app benefiting from a TikTok exodus would be Triller, which features many music biz investors including Troy Carter, Moe Shalizi, Snoop Dogg, The Weeknd, Live Nation's Shawn Gee and Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, among others. 

Speaking of the music biz, TikTok has been the best thing to happen to music discovery and marketing since the dawn of social media and streaming. Influencers have been the catalyst to hundreds of hits now, beginning with Lil Nas X's generational smash "Old Town Road," which first made waves within the app. 

Is it all just smoke and mirrors? Will Mayer lobby to convince U.S. watchdogs that China is no longer involved with the app in the U.S.? Stay tuned, and save your favorite dance clips. 

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