Between the United States and TikTok, it has never really been the great love story. In line with the ban on Huawei sourcing from American companies, the Trump administration had briefly banned the Chinese application from the country in 2020, before lifting this sanction by his successor Joe Biden. However, suspicions of spying have never really disappeared.
Since its launch, TikTok has indeed been the subject of criticism regarding the data collected from its users, especially from children. It was these suspicions that prompted FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr; to demand that Google and Apple remove the app from the Play Store and the App Store. This letter comes in a stormy context for the social network; after an edifying investigation by Buzzfeed on its use of data.
After analyzing 80 audio recordings of internal meetings at TikTok, Buzzfeed reveals that TikTok has repeatedly had access to confidential information from its American users. Thus, a member of the company’s Trust and Safety department said that “The Chinese can see everything”. A director also mentioned a certain “Master Admin” who would have “access to everything”.
FCC Commissioner contacts Apple and Google on the removal of TikTok
In his letter, Brendan Carr refers to “worrying evidence and determinations regarding TikTok’s data practices”, referring in particular to a study proving that the application managed to circumvent the security measures of Android and iOS. “It is clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive harvesting of data; being combined with Beijing’s seemingly unchecked access to this sensitive data».
Google and Apple have until July 8 to remove TikTok from their respective stores; or, if not, to explain their refusal to comply. Note, however, that this request only seems to come from Brendan Carr; and that no other member of the FCC is part of this.