Internet Reacts To FCC Commissioner Demanding Apple, Google Remove TikTok From Their App Stores

FCC Commissioner Demands Apple Google Remove TikTok From Stores

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  • A FCC commissioner is demanding Apple and Google remove TikTok from their app stores.
  • Brendan Carr published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.
  • He cites data security concerns and TikTok being non-compliant with the companies’ app store policies.

Popular video sharing app TikTok is once again in hot water with the United States government. A top-ranking official with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Brendan Carr, has published an open letter demanding Apple and Google remove it from their iPhone and Android app stores.

The FCC commissioner cites data security concerns related to China as well as TikTok’s continued non-compliance with Apple and Google’s app store policies.

“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface,” Carr wrote. “It is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”

Carr goes on to state, “TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints – which researchers have said might be used in unrelated facial recognition technology – and voiceprints. It collects location data as well as draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device’s clipboard.”

TikTok is still illegally harvesting user data, according to a new report

The FCC commissioner’s demands come on the heels of a Buzzfeed News report which cited TikTok employees claiming that engineers in China had access to U.S. data and that the U.S. staff of TikTok “did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data” while their colleagues in China did.

“Everything is seen in China,” said a member of TikTok’s Trust and Safety department in a September 2021 meeting. In another September meeting, a director referred to one Beijing-based engineer as a “Master Admin” who “has access to everything.”

TikTok was previously ordered to be banned from all U.S. app stores in September of 2020. Those efforts were blocked by federal judges, then the Biden administration lifted the order, saying it would conduct a national security review of the app. This investigation is still ongoing.

According to Fortune, TikTok paid $92 million in early 2021 to settle privacy lawsuits.

Many on the internet agreed with Carr’s demands for the removal of TikTok from American app stores.