TikTok is an app at the center of national scrutiny here in the U.S. and abroad, an app beloved by witches and convicted felons alike, an app that’s recently been accused of hooking children up with local drug cartels. It’s also an app that recently announced it would be launching a $200 million funding pool for creators on its platform, a move that prompted a few reporters (including this one), to wonder why TikTok is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on its base, instead of, y’know, everything else.
To break down the fund a bit, Vanessa Pappas, who manages TikTok’s U.S. operations, explained that starting in August, U.S. creators will be able to apply for their own cut of the $200 million to support their “innovative” content. The fund will be “distributed” throughout 2021, and “is expected to grow over that time,” she added. Creators can apply—and qualify—if they’re over 18, consistently push out community-safe content, and meet a certain “baseline for followers.”
“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,” Pappas wrote. “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.”
To date, this is the first real attempt TikTok’s made to directly fund the creators—teenage or otherwise—that make the platform the weird and wacky place a lot of us know it to be. While the company’s launched a few questionable gambits in the quest to win over creators from, say, YouTube or Instagram, this fund represents a real, tangible effort to win over new talent on the TikTok platform, or to reward the folks that are currently on it.
And considering how TikTokkers have been fleeing the platform en masse as of late, either because of national security pressure (here in the States) or because of an all-out ban (India), the platform needs all the good press with creators that it can muster. That said, $200 million might distract the creator community writ large, but it probably won’t detract federal regulators.