The FCC has asked the executives of Google and Apple to remove the social media app TikTok, pictured on a tablet in 2020, from their app stores because of data security concerns. File Photo by Alex Plavevski/EPA-EFE
June 29 (UPI) -- The Federal Communications Commissioner on Wednesday once again asked the chief executives of Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores.
"TikTok is not just another video app," FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, citing national concerns related to the popular social media app's parent company, Chinese-based ByteDance.
"That's the sheep's clothing. It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing. I've called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices."
Carr had previously sounded the alarm in a June 24 letter to Apple and Google parent company Alphabet, describing ByteDance as "beholden" to the Chinese government and "required by law to comply with [the Chinese government] surveillance demands."
"Last week, an alarming new report shed fresh light on the serious national security threats posed by TikTok," Carr wrote in the letter.
A BuzzFeed report in mid-June cited anonymous recordings from TikTok employees who said U.S. user data has been repeatedly accessed from China.
"Everything is seen in China," a member of TikTok's Trust and Safety department is quoted by Buzzfeed as saying. The publication also cited a "Master Admin" in China who "has access to everything."
Additionally, the story said the parent company has backdoor access to user personal user data like birthdays and phone numbers.
Earlier in June, President Joe Biden reversed an executive issued by former President Donald Trump that banned both TikTok and WeChat, but placed them under a new security review.
Biden asked for a review of the apps to ensure they're not in control of a foreign adversary or present a risk to national security.
"The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People's Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," Trump wrote in the executive order in 2020.