TikTok was launched in 2018 when the Chinese app, Douyin, bought out its rival, Musical.ly, and combined the two. Since the relaunch, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps in the world, seeing over 3.5 billion downloads. It is now available in more than 150 markets and in over 35 languages. However, TikTok’s establishment of a creator fund has driven controversy and questions as to whether it is having a positive or negative effect on user engagement.
TikTok is designed to allows users to create, watch, and share 15-second to 3-minute videos. The TikTok algorithm does not recommend content based on follower, which makes it easier for users to rack up views and grow their accounts easier compared to other social media platforms. Intead, TikTok’s algorithm recommends content similar to other content that one has interacted with. Eventually, TikTok saw the efforts going into content creation and decided to create their Creator Fund.
So, what is the Creator Fund?
The Creator Fund
TikTok launched its Creator fund in the spring 2021 as a monetary fund for creators “to encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspirational careers.” The company began by investing $200 million into the fund, which is said to grow to $1-2 billion within the next three years. Here is a video from when TikTok first introduced the creator fund:
Creator Fund Requirements
Anyone who meets these requirements is welcome to apply within the TikTok app through their creator account.
How much are the Creator Fund members paid?
The money that each creator can earn is calculated through a variety of factors, such as the number of views, the authenticity of those views, and the level of engagement on the content. It is rumored amongst influencers that one can earn 2-4 cents per 1,000 views, but TikTok has yet to confirm that. The company states that the Fund total varies daily and is dependent on the number of videos published that day, so it the number of earnings can fluctuate from day to day. However, there is not a max nor minimum earning per creator. There is not a fixed amount of money that is allocated towards creators, and there is not a cap on the amount of funds released daily.
The Controversy About the Creator Fund
Some influencers have claimed that since joining the Creator Fund, their views have been cut causing them to not be able to make as much money. TikTok has since denied this theory stating that participation in the fund has no bearing on the algorithm. However, this statement seems difficult to believe because TikTok has been super secretive about how they calculate the payouts. Creator Funds on other platforms have given users specific dollar amounts that members will receive, while TikTok only states that it is based on views and engagements. The user agreement even states that reporting metrics and other private information about the fund are meant to be kept confidential. This causes many influencers to question the integrity behind the Creator Fund. Lastly, because of the lack of predictability in payments, in order to be successful in the Creator Fund, users will have to create a ton of content and have it perform well in order to make any money from the app. This creates a burn-out feeling amongst TikTok influencers as it makes content creation feel more like a job instead of a hobby. Below is a video from a creator who was previously in the Creator Fund.
There are a lot more TikToks out there just like this one. If you want to watch more, search “Creator Fund” on your TikTok.
So, Is it Worth It?
While the Creator Fund seems like an easy way to make money, in my opinion, it is not worth it. As seen in the video above, it clearly seems that engagement drastically decreases once a user joins the Creator Fund. This is a lot of earnings lost for these creators that they could receive elsewhere (brand endorsements, etc.). Additionally, the fact that TikTok is very discreet about how they pay the fund members is a major problem. If they are not trying to hide something, why is it such a secret? What are they not telling their users? It seems that more creators leave the Creator Fund disappointed than those that are satisfied. What do you think? If you were a TikTok influencer, would you join the Creator Fund?