A head of the US Federal Communications Commission said he had asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores due to data security issues. Pictured here is the TikTok download page on an Apple iPhone August 7, 2020.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images News | Getty pictures
BEIJING ̵[ads1]1; A head of the US Federal Communications Commission said he had asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores due to China-related data security issues.
The very popular short video app is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, which faced the US investigation under President Donald Trump.
Brendan Carr, one of the FCC’s commissioners, shared via Twitter a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. The letter pointed to reports and other developments that meant that TikTok did not comply with the two companies’ guidelines for app stores.
“TikTok is not what it seems to be on the surface. It’s not just an app for sharing funny videos or meme. It’s sheep’s clothing,” he said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated monitoring tool that collects large amounts of personal and sensitive data.”
Alphabet, Apple and TikTok did not immediately respond to CNBC requests for comment.
Carr’s letter, dated June 24 on FCC letterhead, said that if Apple and Alphabet do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they should give him statements by July 8.
The statements should explain “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the hidden access to private and sensitive US user data of individuals located in Beijing, combined with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and behavior, does not violate any of the app store’s policies,” he said.
Trump nominated Carr in 2018 for a five-year term with the FCC. The Senate confirmed in December that the commission’s chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, would remain in office for another five years.
Carr’s letter quoted a BuzzFeed News report earlier this month as saying that footage of TikTok employees’ statements indicated that engineers in China had access to US data between September 2021 and January 2022.
The BuzzFeed report included a statement from a TikTok spokesperson.
It said: “We know that we are among the most researched platforms from a security point of view, and we aim to remove any doubts about the security of US user data. That is why we hire experts in their field, and work continuously to validate security standards. our., and bring in reputable, independent third parties to test our defenses. “
On June 17, the same day as the BuzzFeed report, TikTok announced that they were directing all US user traffic to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, moving US users’ private data from their own data centers in the US and Singapore to Oracle cloud servers in the US