A leader of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said he has asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over China-related data security concerns.
The wildly popular short video app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which faced U.S. scrutiny under President Donald Trump.
Brendan Carr, one of the FCC’s commissioners, shared via Twitter a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. The letter pointed to reports and other developments that made TikTok non-compliant with the two companies’ app store policies.
“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,” he said in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”
Alphabet, Apple and TikTok did not immediately respond to CNBC requests for comment.
Carr’s letter, dated June 24 on FCC letterhead, said if the Apple and Alphabet do not remove TikTok from their app stores, they should provide statements to him by July 8.
The statements should explain “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,” he said.