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TikTok launches docuseries on small businesses that found success on the platform

The first two creators to be featured are soapmaker Jessie Whittington and early literacy educator Spencer Russell.
The TikTok logo
The TikTok office in Culver City, Calif., in 2020. The platform debuted a new docuseries Wednesday.Mario Tama / Getty Images file

TikTok debuted its mini docuseries "TikTok Sparks Good" on Wednesday morning, highlighting small businesses and creators that have founded communities on the platform.

Each mini documentary is 60 seconds and focuses on a single creator who has used TikTok to grow their business or project. The series will be hosted on the TikTok Impact website, which features stories of small businesses that depend on the platform to showcase how the company is "driving real economic growth and job creation in communities across the U.S."

The first two creators to be featured are soapmaker Jessie Whittington, who has over 69,000 TikTok followers, and early literacy educator Spencer Russell, who is followed by over 529,000 TikTokers.

"TikTok has got such a reach that, you know, it's just a fantastic marketing tool,” Whittington told NBC News. "I've met some great folks. I've made some fantastic friends that I've never got to actually meet in person, but I feel like we're just as close as if they live next door to me."

While TikTok has proven to be a crucial marketing tool for small businesses across the United States, legislators have been increasingly concerned about the app's privacy and data security issues, leading some to call for an outright ban of the platform.

Last week, a bipartisan group of senators proposed the Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology Act, or RESTRICT Act, which could give the federal government power to regulate or ban TikTok.

The RESTRICT Act would give the secretary of commerce broad power to regulate tech produced by six countries that have adversarial relationships with the U.S.: China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia and Venezuela.

Whittington said a TikTok ban "would have a significant impact" on her soap business because a third of her sales come from people who find her on the platform.

"Any organization has its problems, but to just ban TikTok, personally I don't feel that's the right move," she said. "There's got to be a way through this, other than just banning it."

TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter previously expressed a similar sentiment to NBC News, saying, “We hope that Congress will explore solutions to their concerns about TikTok that won’t have the effect of censoring the voices of millions of Americans.”

TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew’s will make an appearance before Congress on March 23 to answer questions about lawmakers security concerns.

CORRECTION (March 15, 2023, 12:45 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the title of the docuseries. It is “TikTok Sparks Good," not "TikTok For Good."