If you believe the rhetoric coming out of Washington, TikTok is a security risk and a dangerous source of Chinese disinformation campaigns. To counter those claims, the app is painting itself as a benevolent force. It has launched a documentary web series called TikTok Sparks Good, which reveals its positive impact through 60-second vignettes.
Each episode of TikTok Sparks Good is based around a specific creator. The first two installments center on small business owners who have used TikTok to advance their careers. Jessie Whittington of Country Lather has used the app to launch an affordable soap line in her rural community, while Spencer Russell of Toddlers Can Read has expanded his childhood literacy initiative thanks to the visibility he receives on TikTok.
As part of their TikTok Sparks Good appearances, the featured creators take a few moments to characterize the app as a lifeline for small business owners. “Because of TikTok, I am able to support myself, my family, my team, and my business in a way I just couldn’t have done on my own,” Russell says in his video.
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@tiktok @toddlerscanread connects with millions of parents around the world to help kids build confidence in reading. #TikTokSparksGood #Reading ♬ original sound – TikTok
TikTok Sparks Good premiered on the TikTok Impact hub in the midst of an extended charm offensive initiated by the embattled app. TikTok has touted its commitment to transparency and sent influencers to the U.S. capital in hopes of avoiding a wholesale stateside ban.
To further its commitment to positivity, TikTok has also made several changes to its content rulebook. Most notably, the app is cracking down on deepfakes, the deceptive images that have caused trouble across the social media landscape.
In the current political moment, TikTok Sparks Good will be seen as the app’s attempt to win the ongoing PR battle in Washington. But the docuseries is not merely targeting TikTok’s critics. It’s also reminding small business owners that they can harness a powerful set of tools on the ByteDance-owned app. The initiatives and features that cater to that class of creators include a mentorship program, a crash course for small business owners, and a plethora of versatile ad formats.
Future episodes of TikTok Sparks Good will highlight veterans’ healthcare advocate Jon Lynch as well as Jasmine Vega, who saved her family’s restaurant with the help of the TikTok community. Those installments will be released over the coming six weeks.