FCC commissioner urges Google and Apple to ban TikTok from their app stores

What happened now? FCC commissioner Brendan Carr called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores after new reports surfaced that Chinese employees of its parent company ByteDance were accessing user data.

“TikTok is not just another video app. This is sheepskin. It collects a lot of sensitive data, which new reports show is accessed in Beijing,” Carr tweeted.

The already popular TikTok saw a surge in users during the pandemic and now boasts over 1 billion MAUs (Monthly Active Users). This is despite longstanding privacy and national security concerns over China-based ByteDance gaining access to sensitive information about those using the short video platform.

The new reports that Carr mentions come from Buzz Feed News. The publication writes that an audio leak from more than 80 internal ByteDance meetings confirmed that engineers repeatedly accessed non-public data on TikTok users in the United States between September 2021 and January 2022. The report was released hours after TikTok claimed to have migrated 100% of US users. traffic to the new Oracle Cloud infrastructure.

Carr included in his tweet a copy of a letter he sent to Apple boss Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking them to remove TikTok from the companies’ respective app stores. He states that the app “poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data collection combined with Beijing’s apparently uncontrolled access to this sensitive data.”

“TikTok is not what it seems at first glance,” Carr wrote. “This is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. These are sheep clothes. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that collects a large amount of personal and sensitive data.”

The Trump administration has waged a protracted fight against TikTok, including threatening to ban the app unless a US buyer buys it. Microsoft and Oracle seemed interested, but neither company took any action. The deadline for the purchase eventually passed without the government enforcing a ban.

Head credit: drserg

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