China’s ByteDance, which faced U.S. scrutiny under President Trump, owns the wildly popular app.
Brendan Carr, an FCC commissioner, shared a letter via Twitter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Several reports and other developments made TikTok non-compliant with the app store policies of the two companies, according to the letter.
In his letter, he wrote, “TikTok is not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing. TikTok is an extensive surveillance tool that harvests personal and sensitive information.”
Neither Alphabet nor Apple responded to CNBC’s request for comment.
According to Carr’s letter dated June 24 on FCC letterhead, Apple and Alphabet must provide statements to him by July 8 if they do not remove TikTok from their app stores.
Those statements should explain “how your company concluded that the surreptitious access to private and sensitive U.S. user data by Beijing-based persons does not violate any of your app store policies,” he said.
Carr was nominated to serve on the FCC for five years by Trump in 2018. Jessica Rosenworcel, the commission’s chair, was reappointed for another five-year term by the Senate in December.
According to Carr’s letter, a BuzzFeed News report earlier in the month said TikTok engineers had access to U.S. data between September 2021 and January 2022, based on recordings of their statements.
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