TikTok unveiled on Thursday that it has set up a $200 million fund to dole out to its creators over the coming year, in an effort to help support creators on the nascent social media app.
“We’re launching the TikTok Creator Fund to encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspirational careers,” TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas wrote in a blog post. “The U.S. fund will start with $200 million to help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content. The fund will be distributed over the coming year and is expected to grow over that time.”
To be eligible for the fund users have to be 18 years or older and meet a baseline for followers (TikTok didn’t specify), while consistently posting original content in line with our community guidelines. The TikTok Creator Fund will open to applications from U.S. creators beginning in August.
TikTok has surged in the last year, routinely sitting at or near the top of Apple’s App Store and the Google Play app store. In the first quarter of 2020 TikTok was downloaded 67 million times on Apple devices, setting a quarterly record that was just surpassed by Zoom earlier this month.
In may the company made a huge splash hiring former Disney streaming executive Kevin Mayer as its new CEO, a move that analysts considered: “A home-run hire at the right time.”
TikTok has grown to become a source of income for creators. The last official user data TikTok parent company Bytedance gave, back in 2018, was that the app had 500 million monthly active users. That has undoubtedly grown since. In September 2019, TikTok Vice President Blake Chandlee said during Advertising Week in New York of the platform’s user base: “It’s not a billion, but it’s not half that either.”
Last year, TikTok passed more than 740 million downloads, grossing roughly $177 million globally, according to research firm Sensor Tower. TikTok is privately held and doesn’t report on its revenue, but that figure would have been more than five times its 2018 revenue. But those numbers pale in comparison to Twitter’s $3.5 billion in revenue last year and the $70.7 billion at Instagram’s parent company Facebook.
“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,” Pappas wrote. “Through the TikTok Creator Fund, our creators will be able to realize additional earnings that help reward the care and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas.
“That spirit and ability to connect with and bring joy to large audiences has already propelled thousands of creators into brand partnerships, sponsorships, and representation deals with some of Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies,” Pappas continued. “We’re proud and honored to celebrate our family of TikTok creators who’ve built careers through the platform.”
TikTok has, however, also been the subject of controversy, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggesting earlier this month that the Trump administration was considering banning the Chinese-owned social video platform. “We are taking this very seriously. We are certainly looking at it,” Pompeo told Fox News.