In a bid to not lose its current biggest market (after the India ban) and complement its continued China-distancing measures, TikTok has introduced a creators fund worth $200 million for content creators in the U.S. The fund has been created to help them earn a livelihood through the app, or supplement their income, if they are already doing so.
Vanessa Pappas, General Manager of TikTok, in a blog post announcing the fund, said “In a relatively short time, TikTok has grown to become a source of income and opportunity for creators and their families – and we couldn’t be more encouraged by their success. As our community continues to flourish, we’re committed to fostering even more ways for our creators to earn livelihoods by inspiring joy and creativity.” She also mentioned that the funds will increase over time.
Apart from the figurative announcement though, the company has not really disclosed any details. Neither has TikTok specified the amount that will be paid to each creator, nor the number of followers one should have to become eligible for a cash out. The only eligibility criteria that Tiktok provided is that creators should be over 18 years of age. In addition to this, they should be consistently posting original and creative content that bring user engagement to the platform.
The creators who wish to receive the fund can start applying in August. Terms and conditions are not revealed yet.
So far, the only real way to make money through the app, apart from brand sponsoring, was through LIVE streams, which were monetized by the company itself and brought “earnings to hundreds of thousands of US creators over the age of 18 who host live programs for their audience.” However, with this new fund, content creators will be able to earn a livelihood even if they do not like the idea of going live.
With the amount of content creators US has, $200 million will probably not go a long way if the company frivolously approved every application it got. Thus, we speculate that there will be an intricate selection process in place, with only a small proportion of creators being eligible. However, as the amount of the fund increases over time, TikTok can become a competitor to the likes of YouTube.
This is not the first fund from the company, as it had also launched a ‘Creative Learning Fund’ worth $50 million, aimed at bringing teachers to the platform. TikTok claims that the fund has helped “over 1000” creators who have been affected by the global pandemic.
Apart from providing incentives to content creators, the fund will also help mend relations with the United States government (as if that surprises anyone).
The fund comes at a time when talks of a potential ban on Tiktok in the US have continued to gain momentum. More recently, Secretary of start Mike Pompeo told the press that the government is “looking at” possiblities of an India-like ban on Tiktok and several other Chinese apps.
Tiktok parent Bytedance on its end, has gone on to great lengths to amend all that has gone wrong. That includes distancing itself from China, and a plan to add 10,000 more employees in US. However, none of these moves have seemed to work out so far, as the superpower continues to march to a potential ban. The company also recently hired Disney’s star executive Kevin Mayer as the head of TikTok amid plans of a much larger international expansion.