FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said Apple and Google should remove TikTok from their respective app stores, citing in a tweet “its pattern of clandestine data practices.”
Carr is a big critic of Big Tech.
Specifically, Carr was referring to a BuzzFeed News report that officials at TikTok’s parent company Bytedance in China were repeatedly able to access Americans’ sensitive data after downloading the app from their stores.
In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google (Alphabet) CEO Sundar Pichai, Carr said Apple and Google have represented their stores as safe and trusted places to “discover and download” apps. apps, and yet had vetted and endorsed TikTok, the wildly popular short-form video app — 1.2 billion monthly active users in Q4 2021, according to one estimate.
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But Carr says the fun video or meme-sharing exterior of TikTok is sheep’s clothing for a sophisticated surveillance tool.
“I request that you apply the plain text of your app store policies to TikTok and remove it from your app stores for violating these terms,” Carr wrote.
Carr also pointed out that there is bipartisan concern over TikTok’s ties to China combined with the data it uses. For example, Sen. Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Mo.), both Big Tech critics but politically poles apart, have both expressed concern that TikTok is a risk. for national security.
And the concern goes beyond national security and privacy.
State attorneys general have launched an investigation into TikTok and what they said is its design and promotion of social media for children and adolescents that ’causes or exacerbates harm to physical and mental health’ . ■