Ashton Kutcher has claimed that China could “create a problem” using TikTok in the South China Sea as the video-sharing app can be utilised to create “an anti-US propaganda”, and an “anti-Taiwanese propaganda effort”.
In a discussion with Joe Lonsdale of American Optimist YouTube channel, the 43-year-old actor spoke about his views on protecting children from web violations and the upsides of his success.
While discussing how children need their own privacy, the actor claimed that he sees “a massive regulatory battle on the horizon” with regards to TikTok, which was created by the Beijing-based technology company ByteDance.
“If I’m China 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 utilise TikTok in order to influence the minds of Americans,” the actor said.
During his presidency, Donald Trump issued an executive order to ban the app in the US. He claimed that the app may be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party and that the United States “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security”.
However, the proposed ban sparked controversy amid a debate on whether it would pose a risk to free speech and set a precedent for banning apps in the US.
In June, US president Joe Biden set about withdrawing Trump’s executive orders and ordered a new commerce department review of security concerns posed by the apps.
Experts have been divided on whether TikTok poses a security risk.
“I think that most people believe that there is media manipulation happening and misinformation campaigns happening, just not through their sources,” Kutcher said in his interview.
“I think that’s wrong 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.”