TikTok is often seen as a platform dedicated solely to fun entertainment, but the app is much more than a place to watch dancing videos. TikTok has recently announced a new initiative dubbed ‘TikTok Sparks Good,’ which is aimed to highlight how small businesses are using the app to connect with their customers and the community and to build their business. This initiative is a direct response to the possible ban the platform is facing in the US, and it is the company's way to highlight its value to the US economy.
The ‘TikTok Sparks Good’ docu-series will share inspiring stories from diverse creators on how TikTok was able to make a real-life change. From stories about first-generation children saving their parents’ small businesses to creators rallying the community to support veterans, TikTok provides a platform for anyone to build community, connect, educate, and create economic opportunity. The potential of TikTok to create positive change is something that the platform is eager to highlight.
The initiative has its critics, however. Some have noted that the platform is a double-edged sword, and while it can bring good, it also has the potential to cause harm. TikTok has pushed the boundaries of social media norms, leading to negative psychological impacts for teens and exploitation, and the proliferation of misinformation.
The biggest concern with the platform is its link to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its cybersecurity laws stipulating that Chinese-owned businesses must share user data with the CCP on request. This has raised concerns about the platform being used as a tool for spying on US citizens, with some reports suggesting that the platform had been used to track the movements of journalists.
At the end of the day, while the ‘TikTok Sparks Good’ initiative is a great way to highlight the impact that TikTok can have, it is ultimately up to the regulators to decide whether the platform is able to continue operating in the US. Still, it is encouraging to see that a platform that was once criticized for being a source of harmful trends and misinformation can also be powerful for positive change.