What’s *Actually* Going On with TikTok 🇺🇸

Creators are sifting through the noise

Good morning. Last year, prank creator Zac Alsop used random items to turn 70-something Raymond “Grandad Ray” Galeotti into a viral fashion week model. E-commerce platform Wish noticed, and now, the duo is curating a set of “looks” for Wish with everyday items—proving that the best brand partnerships (and models) can come from the least expected places.

Here’s What Happens Next for TikTok

The bill that would force TikTok owner ByteDance to sell to a U.S. company moves to the Senate / Illustration by Moy Zhong

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will force TikTok parent company ByteDance to sell the app to a US company within six months or risk a country-wide ban.

So what happens now? Here are some of your biggest TikTok questions, answered→ 

What are creators saying? “There are so many different issues at play for TikTok—from a geopolitical perspective, the small business aspect, and institutional distrust,” author and commentator Kyla Scanlon told us. “I don’t think a blanket TikTok ban will fix these problems, but it’s important to acknowledge the ramifications TikTok has on our society.”

What’s the argument against a ban? TikTok creators like V Spehar and Alex Pearlman say the bill is more about government control than protecting citizens’ data. Calling your representative to speak out against the bill has become a TikTok trend, and some lawmakers’ offices temporarily shut down their phone lines as a result.

And the argument for a ban? Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian and digital culture commentator Jules Terpak argue that a sale is fair considering the tenuous relationship between the US and China. They’ve also suggested that, because US social media apps aren’t allowed in China, Chinese social media apps shouldn’t be allowed in the US.

  • Who might buy TikTok? A handful of business leaders from Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary to former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have expressed interest in buying the app from ByteDance.

  • Worth noting: It might be difficult for a TikTok buyer to meet the six-month sale deadline. 

What’s next? The bill will travel to the Senate (where it’s already facing some opposition). It’s uncertain when Senators will vote on the bill, but it’s expected to move slower than it did through the House—should it survive legal scrutiny.

Inside Lily Singh’s Feature Film Premiere

At the SXSW Film Festival, Lilly Singh talk about her debut film “Doin’ It,” which she co-wrote, produced, and stars in / SXSW

Multi-hyphenate creator, actor, and comedian Lily Singh premiered her first scripted film, Doin’ It, as part of the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival this week.

Backstory: Singh began uploading to YouTube in 2010. Growing to over 14 million subscribers, she became one of the platform’s early breakout stars—though Singh’s dream was always “to be on the big screen,” she said during a Q&A Tuesday.

Enter: Doin’ It. Singh co-wrote the independently-financed comedy and plays its protagonist, a computer engineer who takes a job teaching sex education (though she’s secretly highly unqualified).

The vibe at the premiere? A mixture of excitement and intrigue at Austin’s historic Stateside Theater.

  • One patron, a movie producer from Brooklyn, told us that “a lot of people in comedy” were “eagerly waiting” to hear how the film was.

  • Another was a retired local teacher who had never heard of Singh but likes “movies about high school” and appreciated the raunchy plot.

Looking ahead: Singh and her team are hoping to sell Doin’ It to a distributor by the end of the festival. Though critics’ reviews of the film are mixed so far, Singh noted that she’s defining success by “chipping away at that path” to ensure her future films are “easier to make.”

“I’ll be happy and glad if we break even…[so] that the next time there’s a story that’s told through a South Asian lens, people are less hesitant, that a buyer is less hesitant,” she said.

Platform Roundup: More Living Room Options for Creators

Platforms like YouTube are adapting their platform experiences to connected TVs / YouTube

Viewers are increasingly watching their favorite creators from connected TVs (CTV), and now, platforms and companies are trying to keep pace with the growing trend…

  • YouTube’s CTV experience becomes more interactive. Starting in the next few weeks, viewers will have the option to slightly shrink videos in order to make space for comments, descriptions, and metrics such as likes and views on their TVs.

  • Shopping app LTK now allows creators to sell products via CTV. The new “LTK CTV” app will link videos on television screens to creators’ LTK storefronts, according to AdAge.

  • X is launching a television app for Amazon and Samsung smart TVs. X owner Elon Musk continues to push the platform away from text-based content—one source told Fortune that Musk is “set on competing with YouTube.”

🔥 Press Worthy

  • Crocs is sponsoring 100 Thieves’ gameday outfits.

  • Filmmaking creator Sam Dawson launches a merch shop.

  • Yahoo is testing a creator publishing platform that would share 50% of ad revenue with creators.

  • Spotify adds full music videos for Premium subscribers in the UK.

  • Kelly Wakasa is hosting a polar plunge tomorrow at Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY.

  • The EU passes the world’s most comprehensive law regulating AI, which requires rules like deep fake disclosure.

📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish

The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: For Cosmopolitan, journalist Fortesa Latifi unpacks the ramifications of childhood YouTube stardom and the teens who are breaking free.

  • Watch: Arlo Pedersen dives deep into the world of trading card games.

  • Listen: Culture critics Chris Ryan and Andy Greenwald debate how close TV showrunners should require their viewers to follow along to their shows on the latest episode of The Watch.

🎁 Share the Press

When you refer new readers to the Press, you earn merch from the Press Publish shop.

*Here’s your unique link to share: https://news.thepublishpress.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER

You currently have 0 referrals. You're only 5 away from receiving Stickers.

*Please do not use fake email addresses — they will not qualify as referrals. Thank you!