TikTok is shutting down its $2 billion Creator Fund, a 2020 initiative designed to help pay eligible users making content on the app, a spokesperson for the platform confirmed Monday.
The fund was intended to “help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content” by providing them with money distributed through the fund over three years, according to a July 2020 news release from TikTok. The pool of money was distributed based on creators’ shares of the platform’s overall views.
But after the fund launched, many creators were vocal about their concerns, saying it was making monetization on TikTok difficult. Hank Green, who was an early YouTube star and is considered an authority on the culture of the internet, was among those who publicly voiced his concerns last year, saying the fund was outdated. He argued that rather than working in its creators’ best interests, TikTok’s monetization tool worked in favour of the platform’s bottom line.
Other creators quickly echoed Green’s complaint, sharing the little income they generated from the platform despite having racked up large viewership numbers. At the time, Green —who has 8 million followers on TikTok — said that per 1,000 views, he was making about 2.5 cents.
The fund will be discontinued on Dec. 16 in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany, according to The Verge and Fortune. A spokesperson for TikTok confirmed to NBC News that the fund is shuttering but did not share its end date or any further details.
“The Creativity Program was developed based on the learnings and feedback we’ve gained from the previous Creator Fund,” the spokesperson said in an email statement. “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 news comes just months after TikTok unveiled its Creativity Program, which sought to resolve some creators’ initial complaints about the fund.
In a blog post about the Creativity Program in February, TikTok said creators can “earn up to 20 times the amount previously offered by the Creator Fund.” Videos that are eligible for the program must be longer than a minute and earn at least 1,000 views, and they must abide by the platform’s community guidelines, among other criteria.
To apply for the Creativity Fund, which appears to still be in beta, creators must be based in the U.S. and over age 18, and they must have had more than 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. It was not immediately clear whether TikTok plans to include global creators in a different monetization program.