Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr called upon Apple and Alphabet to get rid of TikTok in a letter sent June 24.
Carr addressed the letter to the CEOs of both companies, arguing that TikTok has created an “unacceptable security risk” as a result of the company’s mining of extensive user data, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Carr published a copy of the letter on his Twitter feed Tuesday, saying that “TikTok is not just another video app. That’s the sheep’s clothing.”
“TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — an organization that is beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by the Chinese law to comply with PRC’s surveillance demands,” Carr wrote in the letter, which was sent to Apple and Alphabet’s CEOs, the outlet reported. The social media platform has denied sharing data with the Chinese Communist Party, THR noted.
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.
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
Former President Donald Trump issued an executive order in 2020 demanding that ByteDance divest ownership of TikTok and threatened to shut down the app’s use across the United States, THR noted. The order was subsequently blocked by a federal judge, but that didn’t stop TikTok’s legal woes, the outlet continued.
In 2021, the company was forced to pay a $92 million settlement after it was found the app could be weaponized to track the activities of users, including data from children, THR reported. (RELATED: Terrorist Organization Bans Major Social Media Platform, Limiting Connection With Outside World)
Carr argued that TikTok is violating Apple and Google app store policies on user data, citing two statements from each organization, THR continued.
TikTok has previously stated that, “Like many global companies, TikTok has engineering teams around the world. We employ access controls like encryption and security monitoring to secure user data, and the access approval process is overseen by our US-based security team. TikTok has consistently maintained that our engineers in locations outside of the US, including China, can be granted access to U.S. user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls,” according to THR.