By Stacy M. Brown
TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media giant, is bidding farewell to its $2 billion Creator Fund, an initiative launched in 2020 to support eligible users creating content on the platform financially.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed the announcement, which represents a significant change in the environment for influencers and content creators who have long relied on this fund to support their livelihoods.
The Creator Fund, as per a July 2020 news release from TikTok, was designed to “help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.”
Over the past three years, the fund has distributed money to creators based on their share of overall views on the platform. However, after the fund’s launch, many creators voiced their concerns, asserting that it had made monetization on TikTok an uphill battle.
Notable internet personality Hank Green, a former YouTube star, was among the outspoken critics of the fund. Green argued that the monetization tool primarily served TikTok’s interests rather than those of its creators. He pointed out that despite amassing substantial viewership numbers, creators only made meager incomes from the platform. For instance, Green, who boasts 8 million followers on TikTok, revealed that he earned just about 2.5 cents per 1,000 views.
The Creator Fund will cease operations on Dec. 16 in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, according to reports from The Verge and Fortune. Although TikTok confirmed the fund’s termination to NBC News, the platform’s spokesperson gave no further information or a specific end date.
TikTok has already introduced a replacement for the Creator Fund, known as the Creativity Program, aiming to address the initial grievances of creators. In a blog post in February, TikTok announced that creators could “earn up to 20 times the amount previously offered by the Creator Fund.” To qualify for the Creativity Program, videos must be longer than a minute, garner at least 1,000 views, and adhere to the platform’s community guidelines, among other criteria.
The program remains in beta testing and, at present, is available exclusively to U.S.-based creators over 18 with more than 10,000 followers and a minimum of 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. It remains to be seen whether TikTok intends to introduce a different monetization program that includes creators worldwide.
“The Creativity Program was developed based on the learnings and feedback we’ve gained from the previous Creator Fund,” the TikTok spokesman stated. “As we continue developing new ways to reward creators and enrich the TikTok experience, we value the feedback and direct insights from our community to help inform our decisions.”