TikTok is suspending its Creator Fund, a $1 billion allotment to pay the app’s users for creating successful content. The company is replacing the fund with another program that it said will pay creators more money.
The fund was rolled out in 2021, giving successful creators – people who make TikTok videos with at least 100k views – an opportunity to apply to make money off their videos.
TikTok, which launched the fund with $200 million in 2020, said at the time it would hit $1 billion in the U.S. in three years. CBS News has reached out to TikTok to confirm how much it paid out.
But some creators complained about how little they made from the fund. In January 2022, after creator Hank Green complained about TikTok’s Creator Fund in a YouTube video, some other prominent creators started sharing their earnings.
Green, who has 8 million followers and 599.7 million likes on TikTok, said in the 24-minute YouTube video titled “So… TikTok sucks” that he made about 2.5 cents per 1,000 views on TikTok.
Green mainly posts vlogs and op-ed style videos on YouTube, where he has 1.64 million subscribers. His video about TikTok has 1 million views.
He called the Creator Fund a “static pool,” saying the money TikTok pays creators doesn’t change – even if the app is making more money on content posted by creators. YouTube, however, pays a percentage of the ad money made on a video, Green said. The more views and ad money a YouTube video rakes in, the more money the creator can get. It is unclear what percentage the creator is awarded from YouTube.
A creator named SuperSaf, who has 652.5K followers and 10.4 million likes on TikTok, replied to Green on Twitter, the platform now known as X. He shared a screenshot that showed he had made about £112 – $137 U.S. dollars – in about 10 months on the Creator Fund.
“This is how much I’ve made from the TikTok Creator Fund since April 2021 with over 25 million views in that time,” the creator, who shares tech product reviews on TikTok, tweeted to Green.
Mr. Beast, who is popular across social media platforms and has a whopping 88.9 million followers and 882.1 million likes on TikTok, also replied. The creator, who shares prank and stunt videos as well as heartwarming videos, often handing out money to the unsuspecting, said he made about $14,910 in about 10 months on the fund.
Mr. Beast has 208 million subscribers on YouTube – more than double his following on TikTok. It is unclear how much he makes off that platform in one year, but Forbes listed Mr. Beast as its top content creator in 2023 and said he haschannel and other business ventures.
As it phases out the Creator Fund, TikTok has launched a new offering. “The Creativity Program was developed based on the learnings and feedback we’ve gained from the previous Creator Fund,” a spokesperson for TikTok said in a statement to CBS News. “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.”
The original Creator Fund will no longer be available to creators in the U.S., UK., Germany and France starting on Dec. 16, 2023, the spokesperson confirmed to CBS News via email. All creators currently enrolled in the Creator Fund can move to the new program.
The company says the new program, which is still in its beta phase according to TikTok’s website, will allow creators to earn up to 20 times more than they did on the Creator Fund. Any users 18 and older with at least 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days are eligible to sign up for the program in the app.
TikTok says the best format for posting content is sharing videos that are more than one minute long, in combination with short-form content. TikTok users spend 50% of their time on the app watching videos that are more than a minute long, they say. Users can upload videos up to 30 minutes long or film videos in the app that are up to 10 minutes long.
Creators in the app with large followings can also make money through brand partnerships – being paid by companies to post ads and promote products. Some successful creators who become well-known personalities even ink representation deals with talent agencies. Others can use the platform to promote their own businesses – like podcasts, comedy shows or online stores.