TikTok has created a $200 million fund that will go towards retaining its top creators in the US and attracting new creators to the platform.

In a statement, the video app said the new TikTok Creator Fund will help “eligible” creators on the platform earn a “livelihood through their innovative content”. Prior to this creators on the app could monetise live streams and TikTok helped creators sign brand partnerships and sponsorship deals but the new initiative will pay creators directly for producing video content for the first time.

Eligible users must be 18 or older, live in the US and “consistently” post original videos that comply with TikTok’s community guidelines. Applications to join the program will open next month and the platform will distribute funds over the coming year, and the fund will grow over time. It is unclear how many users TikTok will be accepted or how much money a creator could earn. A baseline follower count is also required but TikTok didn’t specify exactly how many are necessary.

“Through the TikTok Creator Fund, our creators will be able to realise additional earnings that help reward the care and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas,” said Vanessa Pappas, GM, TikTokUS said in a statement.

TikTok also has a $50 million Creative Learning Fund to introduce teachers to the platform and a Creator Marketplace that connects brands with creators to collaborate on paid campaigns.

The announcement comes as TikTok faces increasing scrutiny by the US government over data privacy and its ties to China. Earlier this week House lawmakers voted 336-71 to bar federal employees from using TikTok on government-issued devices. TikTok employs around 1,400 people in the US and said this week that it plans to add 10,000 more staff in the US over the next three years.

Meanwhile, there have been rumours circulating that some American investors are considering buying a majority stake in TikTok in an effort to save it from a potential ban in the US, according to an Information report.

TikTok has taken steps to distance itself from China. It has hired an American CEO – Disney’s former head of streaming Kevin Mayer – and insists it is a Cayman Islands incorporated firm. Last month, India banned TikTok along with several other popular Chinese apps, amid rising tensions with China. The app is also facing scrutiny over in Australia.

The new fund could help TikTok with its ongoing battles with the US government, but for now, TikTok wants to pay creators for their content on the app, which has grown extensively over the last year.

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