- Avani Gregg, Michael Le, David Dobrik, and 16 others will be the first to receive money from TikTok’s new Creator Fund, which was established to support creators hoping to earn money for their content.
- The $200 million fund is expected to grow to over $1 billion in the U.S. over the next three years and TikTok is encouraging eligible creators to apply for the next round of funding when applications open in mid-August.
- Many believe this move will help incentivize users to remain loyal to the platform as new competitors emerge.
- Others say it could also help TikTok bolster itself as a viable economic platform for Americans as it works to strike a deal with an American company to avoid a U.S. ban.
What is the Creator Fund?
TikTok announced the first wave influencers who will get paid for their content under its new Creator Fund.
The company first announced it’s $200 million dollar Creator Fund in July, as a way to support “ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.” TikTokers, of course, were pretty excited about that because it meant there was an opportunity for them to get paid directly from the platform they post on.
Responses to the news were so positive that TikTok later updated its announcement to say that it expected the fund to grow to “over $1 billion in the US in the next 3 years, and more than double that globally.”
In a statement released Monday, the company finally announced that 19 creators will be its first recipients.
Who’s Getting Paid?
The list includes popular personalities like Avani Gregg, Brittany Tomlinson – who you might know as Kombucha girl, Michael Le, Spencer X, and David Dobrik, to name a few.
Some of the creators already came from full-time entertainment backgrounds like Dobrik, but others are TikTokers who completely built their massive followings on the app. The full list includes creators from a range of different genres, from comedy to beauty, music, cooking, dancing, and even healthcare.
Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok U.S., said in the statement, “Each of these creators has shown what it means to be your authentic self, bring joy and inspiration to people, and creatively connect with an audience…From redefining a category to venturing into uncharted waters, these creators are a huge part of TikTok and we’re grateful for their ingenuity and creative spirit.”
As of now, there are no confirmed details about how much each creator will receive or whether the amount varies from creator to creator. However, The Los Angeles Times reported that at least one creator will receive a six-figure amount, according to a person with knowledge of that agreement.
Still, this is only the beginning of these payments. In its latest announcement, TikTok encouraged others to apply when its in-app application opens in mid-August. To be eligible, users have to meet the minimum eligibility criteria, which includes: being at least 18 years old, having at least 10,000 followers, having accrued at least 10,000 views in the last 30 days, and posting original content in line with Community Guidelines.
“This Fund was created to reward your creativity, your passion, and your tenacious spirit to connect with others. We invite you to turn your creativity into an opportunity to earn a livelihood, pursue another career, or simply, to be rewarded for doing what you love,” TikTok added.
Potential Competition and Struggles with the U.S. Government
Obviously, the concept of a platform paying its creators is not new. YouTube’s Creator Program is perhaps the most well-known program that exists, and other platforms like Instagram also have some monetization features.
However, TikTok’s lack of in house monetization has been viewed as a drawback by some, and opportunities for growth and financial gain are a huge reason why TikTokers have been extending themselves off-platform.
Some see these payments as an important move for TikTok that incentivizes big creators to remain focused on the app, while also encouraging smaller creators to remain dedicated to it.
Stephanie Smith, who works for the digital strategy division of United Talent Agency, said, “It shows that TikTok values their creators and understands that their content is what makes the platform successful.”
“That acknowledgment is critical and will help build long-term loyalty with creators.”
The concept of platform loyalty is interesting to keep in mind when you consider all the emerging competition popping up amid rising tensions between the U.S. government and the app.
Just last week, Instagram announced Reels, which essentially copies TikTok’s features and is considered one of the app’s biggest threats. According to the LA Times, Instagram has even offered some creators money to post content for Reels. On top of that, some TikTokers have decided to invest in a new music video app called Thriller, citing concerns over how TikTok manages user data.
Trouble for TikTok escalated last week when President Donald Trump issued an executive order that would outlaw business dealings with TikTok in the U.S. by Sept. 21. That is, at least if its parent company, ByteDance, can’t close a deal with an American buyer for TikTok’s U.S.-based business by then.
For now, many believe its especially important for TikTok to bolster its image and present itself as a viable economic platform for Americans as it works to avoid a U.S. ban.
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (The Los Angeles Times) (Tubefilter)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.