In July when TikTok announced it would launch a $ 200 million fund to compensate its creators. Many of the stars of the platform were thrilled. Although the details weren’t entirely clear, the fund seemed like an exciting opportunity to make a living doing what they love. Vanessa Pappas, now the company’s interim CEO, said the money would “support ambitious creators looking for ways to make a living through their innovative content”. After an “incredible response,” TikTok later said the fund would grow to $ 1 billion in the US over the next three years and double over the world.
A month after the program officially launched, some TikTok influencers say they are disappointed with how the Creator Fund has performed. The developers have complained on social media that they are only making a few dollars a day, even if their videos are getting tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of views. TikTok didn̵
As with previous TikTok efforts, the program’s lack of transparency has sparked theories and speculation. Three developers who spoke to WIRED said their views dropped after joining the fund, and they wondered if TikTok was deliberately limiting their reach to limit how much they could make. Two of them have since completely canceled the program.
“In the end, I left the Creator Fund. I would prefer my followers to see my videos than earn pennies on views, ”says Tiana E., a TikTok influencer with over 50,000 followers. “I am disappointed with how it hurt people more than it helped. I hope TikTok will do the right thing and make changes to the Creator Fund that will benefit the smaller Creators as well. “
Some writers asked to remain anonymous because they believed the Creator Fund’s terms and conditions prohibit them from speaking publicly about the program, including to the press. TikTok’s agreement with the creators states that they must keep “the details of any reporting metrics provided by TikTok” or “other non-public information contained in or resulting from this program” as strictly confidential.
TikTok declined to say whether the deal prohibits creators from speaking to the media. “The developers have already started sharing their thoughts on the program on TikTok as well as members of the press,” said Amelia Lukiman, a company spokeswoman, in an email. “Our priority is to further optimize the program and improve the overall experience for the developers.”
According to Lukiman, any decline in views the creators have experienced since joining the Creator Fund is purely accidental and not the result of their participation. TikTok also denied that the program’s developers are subject to a different standard of content moderation, a different theory shared with WIRED. An influencer who has around 100,000 followers says that TikTok recently recorded a video of a harmless painting for some unclear reason. The company does not currently disclose to users what policies they have violated. “I appealed the violation the same day I left the program [and] I have recorded my video again, ”they told WIRED. TikTok says work is being done to better explain community guidelines violations to users.
“Since we launched the Creator Fund almost a month ago, we’ve read the comments and feedback from the Creators who are part of the program,” said Lukiman. “We are working on a number of resources to dispel myths and rumors about the fund and in the meantime encourage developers to keep sharing feedback with us.”
To be eligible for the Creator Fund, TikTok users must be at least 18 years old, have at least 10,000 followers, and have accumulated at least 10,000 video views in the 30 days prior to their application. The developers WIRED spoke to said the application process was seamless, but by the time they made it into the program it wasn’t clear how much they could make. Last month, Business Insider reported that a developer made about 4 cents for every 1,000 views of their video. According to TikTok, views are just one metric that is considered when distributing payments. Other factors include video engagement and the region in which the video was viewed. “Calculated funds are therefore dynamic and based on several factors as part of the overall Creator Fund,” says Lukiman.