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[Discussion] U.S. FCC Commissioner Issues Letter to Apple and Google to Remove TikTok

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Brendan Carr, one of the five commissioners of the FCC, has issued a letter to both Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Apple seeking to either remove TikTok from their App Stores or release a statement on why the App will remain on their stores.  The letter appears to focus heavily on TikTok openly violating both store terms of service and is fueled by concerns over Chinese cyber security worries.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance and has been the target of numerous reports and accusations of giving information to the Chinese Government about US citizens.  The company has been taking steps to lessen the concern about these problems and even recently moved their US data from their US-based servers to servers run by Oracle, a US company. 

One major concern that has been mentioned about the platform is the finding that TikTok’s engineers in mainland China can request access to and have recently accessed the US data servers.  Of course, this could likely be simple maintenance and server work done remotely (like nearly all international tech companies), but it has fueled more concerns about the Chinese data problems.

Overall, the FCC has limited to no control over the App Stores of Apple and Google and the letter has little legal backing for enforcing any changes.  It may add more pressure on these platforms and may even spark more political moves in Washington towards TikTiok but for now, only time will tell how things will go.  The letter asks for a response by July 8th.

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