Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner, has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into Apple and TikTok. Carr has been a vocal opponent of China’s TikTok, describing the program as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Carr’s request for the DOJ to initiate an inquiry is his latest attempt to persuade Apple to delete the China-owned TikTok app from the App Store, according to Apple Insider.
The FCC commissioner earlier encouraged Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, writing to Apple CEO Tim Cook as well as Google CEO Sundar Pichai in June, saying the Chinese app is just a wolf in “sheep’s clothing.”
According to documents acquired by CNN, Carr addressed a letter to the DOJ’s antitrust head, Jonathan Kanter, on Friday, informing him that TikTok’s presence on the Apple And Google Play Store is an antitrust violation.
Carr said “Google and Apple aren’t really exerting their absolute control over apps for the humanitarian or procompetitive objectives that they put out as defenses to current antitrust or competitive charges. Instead, their behavior demonstrates that those rationales are just pretextual — talismanic references evoked to protect themselves from accountability.”
Carr went on to suggest that the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division should take it into account “to the extent that it analyzes the reasonableness of Apple’s and Google’s unfair competitive actions.”
“The FCC commissioner has also argued that a TikTok ban in the United States is unavoidable,” claiming that it is hard to be certain that data is not “making its way back into the possession of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Google and Apple removing TikTok wouldn’t be an unprecedented or unthinkable act, as both digital behemoths have already banned a US startup for far less.
Under the pretense of public safety, Apple, Google, and Amazon blocked the social media startup Parler from their platforms last year. The decision came after Twitter barred then-President Donald Trump from using its platform, and conservatives seemed to be migrating to Parler.
TikTok, on the other hand, is owned by a hostile foreign nation and is widely seen to be nothing more than Chinese spying and psyops disguised as a social media platform. The China-owned app has also been criticized for endangering American children and teenagers, posing a national security risk, and interfering in US elections.