Apple and Google’s continued hosting of TikTok on their app stores, despite US national security concerns about the short-form video app, reflects the tech giants’ “gatekeeper” power and should be made part of any antitrust reviews the app stores may face, a member of the Federal Communications Commission wrote to the Justice Department last week, reports CNN.
The previously unreported letter — sent on Dec. 2 to DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter and obtained by CNN — said that continuing to make TikTok available on the app stores risks harming consumers, whose personal information US officials have worried may be being fed to the Chinese government.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr wrote the letter. In it he had this to say: ”Apple and Google are not exercising their ironclad control over apps for the altruistic or procompetitive purposes that they put forward as defenses to existing antitrust or competition claims,” Carr wrote. “Instead, their conduct shows that those rationales are merely pretextual — talismanic references invoked to shield themselves from liability.”
DOJ’s Antitrust Division should consider that “to the extent that it assesses the reasonableness of Apple’s and Google’s anticompetitive actions,” Carr added.