Inside the Team Behind TikTok’s $200 Million Creators Fund

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Viral short-video social media app TikTok has announced a $200 million fund that is aimed at helping its top US content creators earn a livelihood on the platform. Creators who want to apply for funding can do so in August 2020, but must be 18 or older, post consistently, and have an unspecified baseline follower count. The ByteDance-owned app aims to eventually expand the fund to its global creator community.

In a press release, US General Manager Vanessa Pappas said, “Through the TikTok Creator Fund, our creators will be able to realize additional earnings that reflect the time, care, and dedication they put into creatively connecting with an audience that’s inspired by their ideas.”

This new fund is likely an effort to establish more formal relationships with high-profile creators, a move that now-defunct short-video app Vine failed to make. The money and formal relationships can help TikTok retain its content creators as other tech companies, like Facebook, look to establish and attract talent to their similar platforms. In earlier this month, Facebook-owned Instagram announced that Reels, its own short-video social media app, will launch in early August 2020.

As TikTok fights to stay at the forefront of the ever-changing social media landscape, it will have to rely on a core team of execs.

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Last month, TikTok’s new CEO, Kevin Mayer, began his role overseeing all of TikTok's operations globally. Mayer is one of the most high profile executives in US entertainment, and had previously served as the chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment, including Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. The addition of Mayer is key as the company looks to distance itself from distance itself publicly from Beijing, after facing regulatory issues in the US, regarding concerns around security, privacy, and its ties to the Chinese government.

The US is a core market for TikTok, which makes US General Manager Vanessa Pappas one of the most important executives on staff. Pappasis a former YouTube exec, where she he led company-wide strategic growth initiatives that sit at the intersection of content and product. At TikTok she has helped spearhead the company’s recent surge in popularity. The app currently has over 52.2 million unique US users and added 12 million users in March 2020 alone.

As TikTok’s Chief Informatioin Security Officer (CSIO) Roland Cloutier will play a huge role in TikTok’s continued success in the US. In the last few months US regulators have raised security and privacy concerns over the app’s alleged ties to the Chinese government. These allegations have caused the US government and private company’s to encourage or mandate employees to delete the app from their phones. To avoid similar policies moving forward, Cloutier will need tap into his 30 years of experience in cyber security and law enforcement, including over a decade serving the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, and Department of Veterans Affairs to prove the app poses no threat to users’ security.


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