US FCC Commissioner Calls on Apple and Google to Remove TikTok from App Stores

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

US FCC Commissioner Calls on Apple and Google to Remove TikTok from App Stores

By Movieguide® Staff

U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s Brendan Carr called on Apple and Google to remove the China-owned social media app TikTok from their app stores.

The FCC commissioner said that ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, is a risk regarding users’ data security.

Carr penned a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai highlighting recent reports of TikTok violating the company’s app store policy.

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

According to Carr, Apple and Alphabet need to provide explanations for “the basis for your company’s conclusion that the 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, does not run afoul of any of your app store policies.”

In a statement to CNBC, a spokesperson said: “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 U.S., including China, can be granted access to U.S. user data on an as-needed basis under those strict controls.”

On June 17, TikTok announced that it would move U.S. users’ private data to solely U.S. servers.

However, data security is not the only red flag for the popular video-sharing app.

Movieguide® previously reported on the app’s lack of accountability regarding what users are shown while using the app.

Movieguide® reported:

Two former TikTok moderators are suing the video sharing app after claiming they experienced emotional trauma after seeing “highly toxic and extremely disturbing” videos every day.

TikTok moderators review videos posted on the app and determine if they break any of the site’s content rules and guidelines.

“We would see death and graphic, graphic pornography. I would see nude underage children every day,” Ashley Velez said. “I would see people get shot in the face, and another video of a kid getting beaten made me cry for two hours straight.”

Velez and another moderator, Reece Young, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking class action status against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.

“You see TikTok challenges, and things that seem fun and light, but most don’t know about this other dark side of TikTok that these folks are helping the rest of us never see,” said lawyer Steve Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which filed the case.

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