FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr asserted that TikTok poses an “unacceptable national security risk” in a letter to the CEOs of Google and Apple urging the companies to remove the app from their mobile app stores. According to Carr, TikTok’s history of “surreptitious access of private and sensitive U.S. user data by persons located in Beijing, coupled with TikTok’s pattern of misleading representations and conduct” should disqualify it under Google’s and Apple’s app store policies.
The popular social media app, owned by Chinese-based company ByteDance, has attracted criticism from security experts for excessive data collection since its 2016 debut. More recently, watchdogs have accused the platform of giving the Chinese government unfettered access to the data it collects. According to the FCC letter, ByteDance “is beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by Chinese law to comply with the PRC’s surveillance demands.”
TikTok has denied cooperating with government surveillance, but has confirmed that employees in China might access American user data.