“The Ranch” star Ashton Kutcher is worried about China’s ability to weaponize the popular social media platform TikTok to influence Americans.
Kutcher appeared on the American Optimist YouTube channel to discuss protecting children from the harmful reach of the internet.
While he noted that he plans to make sure his own two children with “That 70’s Show” co-star Mila Kunis would be “extraordinarily educated” before they use social media, the focus of the conversation shifted to China’s ability to influence the world through state-controlled apps.
Kutcher says he foresees “a massive regulatory battle on the horizon” for Beijing-operated video-sharing platform TikTok, which the Trump administration tried and failed to ban from American soil in 2020.
“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 utilize TikTok in order to influence the minds of Americans,” he said.
He believes that social media platforms can be utilized to push “an anti-US propaganda, anti-Taiwanese propaganda effort” that would be able to make any “war from the United States extraordinarily unpopular.”
“I think that most people believe that there is media manipulation happening and misinformation campaigns happening, just not through their sources,” Kutcher went on. “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.”
Kutcher, who identifies as a “fervid American,” stated that social media misinformation campaigns are “extraordinarily dangerous” to the nation.
Watch his interview here: