Ashton Kutcher, a co-founder of Thorn, an organization dedicated to defending children against sexual abuse, told Joe Lonsdale of "American Optimist" that he was concerned that China could be using the popular social media app TikTok to promote "anti-Taiwanese propaganda."
The actor said he sees a "massive regulatory battle on the horizon" regarding TikTok, an app featuring short videos that is owned by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance. Kutcher fears China could be using the platform to manipulate people for its anti-Taiwanese propaganda campaign.
"If I'm China," Kutcher said, "and I want to create a problem in that area of the world — specifically, a naval problem in the South China Sea — I would probably want to utilize TikTok in order to influence the minds of Americans."
Kutcher voiced his concern that the current trend of misinformation campaigns and permissive privacy policies is making social media dangerous "not just for individuals, but the country at large."
"I think that's wrong," Kutcher said, "and I think we're about to face a reckoning in that particular domain, and it's going to probably change what social media looks like in the future. ... My sense is that what social media is today is not what social media is going to be in five years. If the trendline continues on the path that it's on today, my kids will not be on social media. If the trendline pivots, as I think it likely will, there's a chance that I will allow them to use it."
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