Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

TikTok, the short-form video sharing app owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, is attempting to distingush itself from its Chinese owner, but it remains caught in the escalating conflict between Washington and Beijing.

Driving the news: TikTok is bringing on outside experts, including 2 former congressmen, to take a look at its content moderation policies.

The big picture: The app insists it operates independently, but U.S. lawmakers are looking to investigate TikTok for censoring content to please China. Experts have also said TikTok could be turn into a Chinese weapon in the battle for personal data.

  • In a blog post Tuesday, TikTok said it would work with former Reps. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), among other experts, to review its content moderation policies and overall transparency.
  • "It's amazingly rewarding to know that we're bringing joy to so many — but it also brings great responsibility on our part," Vanessa Pappas, TikTok's U.S. general manager, wrote.

Go deeper: TikTok is China's next big weapon

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Coronavirus cases rise in 25 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

New coronavirus infections rose over the past week in half the country.

Why it matters: The U.S. remains largely unable or unwilling to control the spread of the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,976,447 — Total deaths: 1,014,266 — Total recoveries: 23,644,023Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,233,945 — Total deaths: 206,959 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump signs stopgap bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding after funding expired briefly, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Why it matters: The move averts a government shutdown before the Nov. 3 election. The Senate on Wednesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.