Ashton Kutcher Warns That China Could Use TikTok To Influence Americans With Anti-U.S. Propaganda

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Last week, actor Ashton Kutcher expressed concern that China’s Communist regime could use TikTok to push “anti-U.S. propaganda” and influence younger American users of the social media platform.

“If I’m China and I want to create a problem in that area of the world, specifically a naval problem in that area of the world, in the South China Sea, I would probably want to utilize TikTok in order to influence the minds of Americans in an anti-U.S. propaganda, anti-Taiwanese propaganda effort in order to make any kind of war from the United States extraordinarily unpopular,” Kutcher said while speaking on the “American Optimist” YouTube channel run by Joe Lonsdale.

“My sense as a fervent American is that it’s getting extraordinarily dangerous for not just individuals but for the country at large,” Kutcher added.

“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 said, on the subject of “media manipulation” and “misinformation campaigns.” “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 change that I will allow them to use it.”

Many were concerned when the Chinese social media platform TikTok released their new privacy policy in June 2021, informing users that the app may collect new forms of biometric data, such as “faceprints and voiceprints,” but that the company was reportedly “unable to explain what types of data these terms referred to, or why the app might need to access this information in the first place.”

“A change to TikTok’s U.S. privacy policy on Wednesday introduced a new section that says the social video app ‘may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information’ from its users’ content,” reported TechCrunch. “This includes things like ‘faceprints and voiceprints,’ the policy explained.”

TechCrunch then explained that after being reached for comment on the forms of data that may be collected, “TikTok could not confirm what product developments necessitated the addition of biometric data to its list of disclosures about the information it automatically collects from users but said it would ask for consent in the case such data collection practices began.”

“We may collect information about the images and audio that are a part of your User Content, such as identifying the objects and scenery that appear, the existence and location within an image of face and body features and attributes, the nature of the audio, and the text of the words spoken in your User Content,” TikTok announced in the “Image and Audio Information” section of their new privacy policy. “We may collect this information to enable special video effects, for content moderation, for demographic classification, for content and ad recommendations, and for other non-personally-identifying operations. We may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information as defined under US laws, such as faceprints and voiceprints, from your User Content. Where required by law, we will seek any required permissions from you prior to any such collection.”

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