U.S. wants Apple to ban TikTok from its App Store over Chinese data worries

Tiktok On iPhone
Tiktok On iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has written to Apple CEO Tim Cook to demand that it pulls TikTok from the App Store.
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai also received the same letter about the Google Play Store.
  • TikTok is accused of allowing Chinese staff members to access the data of U.S.-based users.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has written Apple CEO Tim Cook to demand that TikTok is removed from its App Store over concerns about potential Chinese access to user data.

In a letter that was also sent to Google's Sundar Pichai, Carr suggested that Chinese access to U.S. user data is a national security concern, following on from a Buzfeed News report that TikTok staff in China were able to access U.S. customer data until as recently as January 2022.

As you know TikTok is an app that is available to millions of Americans through your app stores, and it collects vast troves of sensitive data about those U.S. users. TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — an organization that is beholden to the Communist Party of China and required by the Chinese law to comply with PRC's surveillance demands," the letter says. Carr goes on to say that TikTok is an "unacceptable national security risk."

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TikTok has already said that it is moving U.S. customer data back to the United States via an Oracle could service. It also seems unlikely that Apple nor Google will actually make moves to ban TikTok from the App Store and Play Store respectively. Especially if TikTok parent company ByteDance follows through on its data repatriation claims.

TikTok has become one of the best iPhone apps for people who want to share and consume short video content in a vertical format. It's also seen competition grow of late, with Instagram and YouTube getting involved with their own variations on the same theme.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.