Even as the American government continues to hint a ban at short video app TikTok, the company announced a $200 million fund to “help support ambitious creators” in the US, who are looking to make a livelihood out of making content. Called the TikTok Creator Fund, it will be distributed over the coming year and is expected to grow over that time, the company said. The TikTok Creator Fund will open to applications from US creators beginning in August. To be eligible for the fund, users must be 18 years or older, meet a “baseline” for followers, and consistently post original content in line with the platform’s community guidelines.
TikTok did not specify what is the minimum number of followers a creator needs to have to be eligible for the fund. It also did not clarify how often payments will be made to creators and what is the maximum amount a single creator can earn from the fund. We have reached out to the company for more information.
Even though TikTok is among the most popular content platforms in the world, with over 2 billion global users, the platform — unlike YouTube — does not offer a direct way for creators to monetise. Most creators make money by either making content sponsored by brands, or by doing live streams where users could tip them encashable coins.
The fund can potentially also help the platform to hold on to its creators, several of whom have found mainstream success. TikTok admitted that popularity on its platform has “propelled thousands of creators into brand partnerships, sponsorships, and representation deals with some of Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies”. The Verge pointed out that back in the day, when Vine was a still a popular platform, a lot of its creators started making content on YouTube simply because of the direct monetisation it offered to creators.
TikTok’s US problems: Aside from making the platform a more lucrative place for creators, the fund’s announcement also comes as the platform faces mounting criticism, and a potential ban in the US, where several lawmakers see the app as a potential security threat. The US Senate recently passed a bill prohibiting federal officials from downloading the app, and earlier this month White House adviser Peter Navarro said to expect “strong action” from Donald Trump on TikTok.
Even corporate America isn’t happy: Not the just the government, but even corporate America seems sceptical about TikTok’s security. Financial company Wells Fargo, last week, directed employees to delete TikTok from company-owned devices amid what it said were concerns about security. Even Amazon sent out an email to employees asking them to delete TikTok from devices which they use to access company email, only to later backtrack, and say that the instruction was an error.
In India, TikTok, along with 58 other apps developed by Chinese companies, remains banned over national security concerns.