Tuesday Briefing: U.S. Moves to Crack Down on TikTok


House Republicans plan to vote this week on legislation that would force the Chinese owners of TikTok to divest or be barred in the U.S., even after Donald Trump came out strongly against banning the platform.

“We must ensure the Chinese government cannot weaponize TikTok against American users and our government through data collection and propaganda,” said Representative Steve Scalise, the House majority leader.

Scalise, a Republican of Louisiana, said the House would try to speed the bill’s passage. The approach reflected the growing momentum behind the bill during an election year, when members of both parties want to show they are tough on China. President Biden has said he would sign the legislation.

But Trump, who as president once vowed to ban the platform, now vocally opposes the bill. He gave a rambling explanation for his reversal yesterday, saying that he did not want to alienate young voters or give Facebook, which he considers a nemesis, more power. The battle will test his ability to continue sinking bipartisan legislation from the campaign trail.

Context: The bill is one of several efforts over the past year aimed at curtailing TikTok because of concerns that its parent company’s relationship with Beijing poses risks to national security.

Fighting back: Last week, TikTok asked its users to flood congressional telephone lines and ask members not to shut down the platform.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, apologized yesterday for having doctored a photograph of herself with her three children that Kensington Palace had shared. News outlets retracted the photo from their articles hours later, citing the edits.

It was the first official photo of Catherine since before she underwent abdominal surgery two months ago. And it became a royal blunder, our London bureau chief writes. Even before her apology, memes of “undoctored” photos filled the internet. One showed a bored-looking Catherine smoking with a group of children.

If the photo was meant to douse speculation about Catherine’s health — she has not been seen in public since last year — it had the opposite effect. It set off more rumors and conspiracy theories and created a fresh tempest for a royal family that has lurched from one self-created crisis to another.

Some telltale edits: Catherine did not seem to be wearing her wedding ring. Part of one of her daughter’s sleeves was missing or misaligned.

Ukraine could deploy F-16 fighter jets by this summer. But despite promises from its European allies, delivering the jets and training the pilots has proved difficult. Ukraine may start with as few as six F-16s, out of about 45 pledged.

The jets could help Ukraine defend itself against Russia, which has used more aggressive air support to gain ground in the east in recent weeks. The F-16s would also likely come armed with missiles and bombs, which would partially make up for Ukraine’s shortage of ground-based munitions.

Deb Amlen, who writes about games for The Times, learned to play Pokémon with her children when they were little. Well into her children’s adulthood, they’re still playing together.

“The gift isn’t the game,” she writes in an essay. “The real present is that as my children soar into their own independent lives, they still want me to fly along with them.”

“Oppenheimer” won seven Academy Awards, including best picture, best director (Christopher Nolan) and best actor (Cillian Murphy). Emma Stone won the Oscar for best actress for her performance in “Poor Things,” which won four awards. See the list of winners from Sunday.

In recent years, Hollywood’s top prize has gone almost exclusively to independent movies. But that “Oppenheimer” won this year reflected a shift. Call it the revenge of the studio movie: a blockbuster from an old-line studio with nearly $1 billion in ticket sales.


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