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TikTok announces first wave of creators set to receive payment for their videos

China’s ByteDance has agreed to divest the U.S. operations of TikTok completely in a bid to save a deal with the White House, after President Donald Trump said on Friday he had decided to ban the popular short-video app.

TikTok announced the first wave of recipients for its new Creators Fund, a $200 million venture that will pay popular personalities for their content.

There are 19 creators in total, including David Dobrik, Brittany Tomlinson, Cheyenne Jaz Wise, Justice Alexander, Michael Le, Marissa Ren, and Ross Smith. While many of the recipients already came from full-time entertainment backgrounds — including Dobrik and Smith, who are popular YouTube creators — many of the selected TikTokers came from non-media backgrounds but were able to build substantial followings on the app.

Dr. Fayez (@lifeofadoctor), an emergency medicine doctor, has amassed more than 500,000 followers on the app since starting TikTok in 2019 and is known for “mythbusting common misconceptions within healthcare, or giving his audience a glimpse on his everyday life as a doctor,” according to a new TikTok blog post. Matt Gresia (@mattgresia) is an entrepreneur who uses TikTok to teach business skills to his more than 13 million subscribers.

TikTok first announced the $200 million fund in late July, and a spokesperson described the initiative as a way to support ambitious creators who “are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood” on the app. It remains unclear just how often creators will be paid or how much each payment amounts to, but a spokesperson told The Verge at the time that it’s an ongoing payment system.

In order for creators to be considered for the fund, they must “be 18 years or older, meet a baseline of 10K followers, have accrued at least 10K video views in the last 30 days, and post original content” that doesn’t violate the company’s community guidelines, according to the blog post. To compare, YouTube’s Creator Program, which allows people to monetize their content through advertising, requires creators to have more than 1,000 subscribers and accrue more than 4,000 hours of watch time over the last 12 months.

“Creating engaging and meaningful content takes time and commitment, and our creators are just as passionate about sharing stories and connecting with their audiences as we are about serving them and our broader community of users,” Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok US, wrote in the blog post.

The company’s goal is to increase the fund from $200 million to $1 billion in the next three years. Right now, the fund is only applicable to creators in the United States, but the company hopes to create more funds globally later on. Applications for creators will open later this month, according to the blog post.

The fund comes at an important strategic time for TikTok. Paying creators in the US may bolster the company’s image in its ongoing struggles with the US government, which is looking for an American company (reportedly Microsoft) to purchase TikTok. Otherwise, the app is facing a ban under an executive order from President Trump. TikTok has spent months trying to make itself a more American company, with a campus in Los Angeles, an American CEO, and plans to hire 10,000 people in the United States. If TikTok can become a viable, economic platform for Americans, that’s another positive for the company’s presence in the United States.

More information about the Creators Fund and the first wave of recipients is available on TikTok’s blog.

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