November 17, 2023

TikTok is suspending its Creator Fund: What does this mean for students?

Be sure to check out the suggested Huddle question at the bottom of this article to discuss this important topic with your students in class, if you feel it is appropriate.

For students, TikTok is not just an app– it’s a place where they express themselves, connect with others, and sometimes seek financial opportunities. Recently, TikTok announced the suspension of its Creator Fund, a $1 billion allotment to pay the app’s users for creating successful content; a move influenced by creators’ dissatisfaction with the fund. The Creator Fund was developed to reward popular TikTokers for creating successful content, but many of these creators argued that the fund didn’t pay enough. 

As a result, TikTok is now in the process of launching “The Creativity Program,” a fund that is intended to pay content creators more and hopefully incentivize creators to produce even more content. The suspension of The Creator Fund and the introduction of The Creativity Fund allow students interested in becoming successful content creators to earn fair pay for their work. 

For educators, empowering students to navigate the rise of influencers, play to their core online, and make social media a joyful place for themselves and their followers is key to creating a positive social world for students. Keep reading to discover how.

Tell me more

The Creator Fund, launched in 2021 with the promise of paying content creators for posts that generate revenue for TikTok, faced criticism for falling short of what the TikTokers believed to be fair pay. In 2022, content creator Hank Green complained about TikTok’s Creator Fund in a YouTube video titled “So…TikTok Sucks,” prompting other creators to share their earnings and dissatisfaction with the creator fund. Some prominent creators, such as MrBeast and SuperSaf, disclosed their earnings, revealing a discrepancy between effort and reward. Despite having millions of likes on his page, SuperSaf reported only making $137 U.S. dollars in 10 months on the Creator Fund. 

But while some influencers may have yet to make large sums of money through the Creator Fund, they can make a substantial living through ads and brand deals, with the influencer industry expected to be a 69.92 billion-dollar industry by 2029.

As a result of the backlash, TikTok is suspending its Creator Fund but introducing a new offering called “The Creativity Program” based on insights and feedback from the previous fund. Creators currently enrolled in the Creator Fund can transition to the new program once it is released. TikTok claims that creators can earn up to 20 times more than the Creator Fund with this new program but must have a minimum of 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days to join the new program through the app.

TSI’s Take

As more students become interested in being social media influencers and content creators, educators need to acknowledge their career goals so that students feel accepted and supported by those they look up to. If your students have aspirations to eventually use their creative skills to earn money on social media, you can support their goals by highlighting the importance of playing to their core online, as they’re more likely to come across as authentic, and people tend to follow and like relatable content. A study from Hubspot found that almost 70% of consumers say that original and relatable social media content is more important than polished, high-quality content.

Empowering students to play to their core online is about encouraging them to post things that reflect their interests and values, not posting content because of what others want. Here are some tips to start the conversation with students on the importance of playing to their core and how they can do so online:

  • Highlight the importance of posting content that reflects your values: Guide students in building a positive online presence by empowering them to post content that reflects their values and interests, such as posting about clubs, hobbies, or time spent with friends. Emphasize the long-term impact of their social media posts when applying to college or getting a job.
  • Huddle with students on why they should post what they love: Talk with your students about the importance of sharing posts they care about, not just content they think will get likes. Focusing on bringing likes and comments can lead to stress and anxiety about pleasing others. Instead, teach students to post what makes them proud because social media is there to bring joy and entertainment, not stress. 
  • Explore content creation jobs with your students: There are several different ways that students can be content creators online, whether as an entrepreneur or working for a company. Regardless of the route students want to take, share some articlesvideos, or general tips on how they can get started. 

Social media continues to evolve, and educators stand as guides, equipping students with the skills and values needed to responsibly navigate the complexities of influencer culture. For more ways you can equip students with the skills to use social media responsibly, check out our Reputation Building Workshop– How educators can equip students to play to their core and build a positive online presence

#WinAtSocial Huddle Question
Huddle with your students
There are a variety of content creators online that play to their core every day. Whether it’s coming up with new inventions, making and sharing recipes, or showing off their artwork, we are positively influenced by what they do every time we go on social media. Let’s put ourselves in their shoes for a moment: If you were a popular influencer, and created content for something you are passionate about, what kind of posts would you make? What do you hope you or others would get out of it?

The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and the creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.