FCC's Carr Asks Apple, Google To Remove TikTok From App Stores, Calls Platform 'Sophisticated Surveillance Tool'

Zinger Key Points
  • "TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface," FCC commissioner says.
  • The social media app owned by China's ByteDance is a sophisticated surveillance tool, he says.

The Federal Communications Commission's Brendan Carr came out hard against the Chinese short video app TikTok on Tuesday and asked Apple, Inc. AAPL and Alphabet, Inc. GOOGL GOOG to take down the app from their respective app stores.

FCC Chief Says App A National Security Risk: TikTok poses an "unacceptable national security risk" due to the extensive data to which it has access and Beijing's unchecked access to the sensitive data, Carr, a Republican by political affiliation, said in a letter addressed to Apple's Tim Cook and Alphabet's Sundar Pichai.

"This puts it out of compliance with the policies that both of your companies require every app to adhere to, as a condition of remaining available on your app stores," the FCC commissioner said.

He requested both companies to remove TikTok from their app stores for failure to abide by those terms.

Related Link: TikTok Vs. Instagram Reels Vs. Facebook Vs. Snapchat Vs. Twitter: Who's Winning The Social Media Race?

July 8 Deadline For Apple, Google To Respond: Carr highlighted statistics that showed TikTok being downloaded about 19 million times in the U.S. from the App Store and the Google Play Store.

"TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It's not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That's the sheep's clothing," he said.

At its core, Carr said China's ByteDance-owned TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that "harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data."

The FCC Commissioner also said if Apple and Google do not take action, they have to provide separate responses by July 8 explaining their rationale.

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