Feels like we’re back in 2020 as the Trump administration-appointed Republican FCC Commissioner, Brendan Carr, is claiming that TikTok is a “national security threat” and calls to ban the app from Apple and Google’s storefronts in an open letter to each company’s respected CEOs.
If that sounds familiar, well the former president was of the same mind as he also made the same push for a similar reason. This led to the social media video platform filing a lawsuit against the administration at the time claiming it was all a part of Trump’s re-election campaign. Carr claims that “TikTok is not just another video app… that’s the sheep’s clothing” and that everything is seen in China as the social media company is harvesting “swaths of sensitive data… being accessed in Beijing.”
The letter cites a Buzzfeed report of 80 leaked internal TikTok meetings where employees of China-based parent company ByteDance are accessing private information. To confront the criticism even before that report was published, TikTok announced it is transferring all the platform’s US traffic to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as an attempt to show its increasing security on US user data.
“It’s clear that TikTok poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data,” FCC commissioner, Brendan Carr wrote in a letter sent to Apple and Google on Twitter.
As noted by Engadget, Carr is seemingly alone in his push on the FCC side as his signature is the only FCC commissioner actually listed as the other officials are seemingly not lending their support to his cause. The more likely reason for this anti-TikTok push is that it has less to do with the Republicans actually caring about the alleged security harm in relation to US citizens and more of Carr’s opinion that “the far left has worked to weaponize social media” by censoring conservatives.
A similar sentiment is something that fellow Republican and billionaire, Elon Musk echoes when he made an offer to purchase Twitter for $43 billion. Carr says that Google and Apple have until July 8th to remove the app or if they don’t, explain why.