TikTok picks the first recipients of its $200 million creator fund

TikTok has picked the first round of content creators to be on the receiving end of a $200 million fund designed to reward their top users and bring in new ones.

The video app announced the new program on July 22 with the intention of supporting “ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.”

At the time, the company said the fund would start distributing the cash later in the year and is one of the few ways users can make money on the app. Previously, users could monetize their accounts only via livestreams or through brand partnerships.

On Monday, TikTok named 19 accounts chosen as the first recipients from the fund, which TikTok says is projected to amass $1 billion in the US over the next three years.

“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,” TikTok said in an online statement.

“TikTok would not be the vibrant community that it is today without creators like these, some of whom have only been on the platform a few months and others who have been with us from the beginning,” the statement said. “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.”

TikTok is currently fighting a few battles, including a possible ban in the United States because of its Chinese ownership over claims that it’s a security risk. The company has taken steps to distance itself from China by hiring an American CEO and confirmed that its parent company, ByteDance, is considering a corporate restructure and creating a headquarters outside of China.

Last week, Microsoft said it’s pushing forward with talks to acquire TikTok.

And TikTok isn’t the only one making moves. Competitors like Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has launched a similar TikTok-like feature called Reels. YouTube, which lets users monetize their channels, also recently announced its own $100 million fund to “amplify” content from Black users.

Some of the first fund recipients may not come as a surprise to avid TikTokers.

Alex Stemplewski, a Los Angeles photographer best known for his impromptu public photoshoots; food vlogger Yumna Jawad; dancer Michael Le, best known for pioneering trends and his choreography; and Dr. Fayez, a healthcare professional known for talking about common misconceptions in healthcare and his everyday life as a physician are among the winners.

Tik Tok did specify how the money will be disbursed or how much each creator will get.

To be considered as a recipient of the fund, TikTok is asking interested content creators to apply when the application process opens in the TikTok app mid-August. Applicants must be 18 or older, live in the United States, meet a baseline of 10,000 followers, have accrued at least 10,000 video views in the last 30 days, and must post original content in line with their community guidelines.