TikTok on Wednesday morning debuted its new mini documentary “TikTok for Good,” which highlights small businesses and creators who have established communities on the platform.
Each mini documentary is 60 seconds long and focuses on a creator who has used TikTok to grow their business or project. The series will be hosted on the TikTok Impact website, featuring stories from small businesses that have relied on the platform to showcase how the company is “driving real economic growth and job creation in communities across America”.
The first two creators to be featured are soapmaker Jesse Whittington, who has more than 69,000 TikTok followers, and early literacy teacher Spencer Russell, who has more than 529,000 TikTokers.
“TikTok has such a reach that, you know, it’s just a great marketing tool,” Whittington told NBC News. “I’ve met some great people. I’ve made some wonderful friends that I’ve never really met in person, but I feel like we’re only as close as if they live next door to me.”
While TikTok has proven to be an important marketing tool for small businesses across the United States, legislators have been increasingly concerned about the app’s privacy and data protection issues, leading some to call for an outright ban on the platform.
Last week, a bipartisan group of senators proposed the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats That Risk Information and Communications Technologies Act, or RESTRICT Act, which could give the federal government the power to regulate or ban TikTok.
The RESTRICT Act would give the Commerce Secretary broad power to regulate technology produced by six countries that have adversarial relations with the US: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.
Whittington said a TikTok ban would “have a significant impact” on her soap business as a third of her sales come from people who find her on the platform.
“Any organization has its own problems, but banning only TikTok, I personally don’t think is the right step,” he added. “Besides banning it, it’s got to find a way through.”
TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwatter previously expressed a similar sentiment with NBC News, saying, “We hope Congress will find a solution to their concerns about TikTok that will not have the effect of censoring the voice of millions of Americans.”
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew will appear before Congress on March 23 to answer questions about lawmakers’ security concerns.
Kevin Collier And Scott Wong Contribution,