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 Wells Fargo spokesperson said the 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 told CNN Business on Monday it has not been contacted by Wells Fargo.
In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said the company is open to engaging with Wells Fargo “and sharing the actions we take to protect data security for our users. Tens of millions of Americans, including Wells Fargo employees, come to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration and connection, especially during the pandemic. Our hope is that whatever concerns Wells Fargo may have can be answered through transparent dialogue so that their employees can continue to participate in and benefit from our community.”
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.”
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.