The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over security concerns.
Brendan Carr at the FCC shared a letter with the app store leaders documenting that TikTok was not just an app for sharing entertaining videos but functioned as a surveillance tool to harvest personal data of its users.
ByteDance, the Chinese maker of the app, has faced repeated criticism over security and privacy concerns over the past years.
TikTok did make an effort to weaken concerns by storing its US user data in the US.
But more recently, leaked audio from internal meetings among China-based employees of ByteDance shows that Chinese engineers have access to US data.
Part of the concern us that ByteDance could collect sensitive user data of persons based in the US and turn it over to the Chinese government, but perhaps more importantly that it could adjust the recommendation algorithm to influence video suggestions to its American audience.
Carr said that if Apple and Google failed to remove the app they should submit their reasons for not doing so by July 8th.
They should explain “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the surreptitious access of private and sensitive US user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies.”