The CEOs of Apple and Google have been asked to remove Chinese-owned Tiktok from their app stores by a member of the Republican Party of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The CEOs received a letter from Brendan Carr, the FCC commissioner, using FCC letterhead on June 24. Carr said that Bytedance employees in Beijing had access to large troves of private information of US customers amassed by the video-sharing app TikTok. TikTok’s Chinese parent is ByteDance. Carr posted the contents of the letter on Tuesday, June 30.
‘TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing. It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing’, Carr said on Twitter.
Carr demanded that the businesses either take TikTok off of their app stores by July 8 or provide an explanation for their decision not to do so.
Carr’s request is unusual given that the FCC lacks a clear legal authority over the content of app stores. The FCC has the power to grant firms certain communications licences, which it often does in order to oversee the national security sector.
According to Reuters, Apple did not immediately react to a request for comment while Google declined to address Carr’s letter.
Due to the acquisition of personal data from US citizens, TikTok has come under regulatory investigation in the US. Because of concerns that U.S. user data would be sent to China’s communist government, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which evaluates acquisitions by foreign acquirers for potential national security threats, ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok in 2020.