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TikTok wants to make it easier for its creators to earn money for their videos—many of which undoubtedly require a lot of time and effort—so it’s testing out a popular idea: setting up a tip jar.
The feature, which the company confirmed as authentic to TechCrunch, was spotted by a TikToker earlier this week. TikTok told the outlet that the feature is currently part of a “limited test” and is not widely available.
In order to apply to be eligible for tips, TikTokers must have at least 100,000 followers, be in “good standing,” follow the platform’s community guidelines, agree to its “Tip Terms”—which are not disclosed—and meet the age requirement, according to screenshots shared by creator jera.bean, who has 1.3 million followers and submitted an application.
Interestingly, all tips made during the limited test will go to creators, with TikTok taking no cut at this time. Twitter, which launched its own tip jar feature back in May, doesn’t take any percentage of tips to its users, either. But it does explain that since tips are made via third-party payment services, these companies may charge fees.
“Tips let viewers fund your creativity and show their support by sending you payments,” TikTok explains in a screen promoting the feature shared by jera.bean. “Tips will go directly to you and no money will go to TikTok.”
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That doesn’t mean the company won’t decide to take a cut of tips later on. However, considering that Twitter doesn’t take a percentage of tips, doing so might not be the most popular move.
According to TechCrunch, TikTokers who are approved to be part of the test will be given a “Tips” button on their profiles, which their followers can then click on to send them money.
If it sticks around permanently, TikTok’s tip jar would be just one way for its creators to make money on the platform. It also allows users to send them virtual gifts during live streams, which they can then redeem for money.
Last year, the company also launched the Creator Fund, which TikTok says will give U.S. creators more than $1 billion over the next three years and more than double that amount on a global level. Funds are dished out based on factors such as the number of views, authenticity of those views, content engagement levels, and compliance with TikTok’s community guidelines and terms of service.
Nonetheless, some TikTokers say the Creator Fund doesn’t provide them with enough money to pay the bills. A TikToker with 1.6 million followers told Insider in July that his account makes between $9 and $38 a day on average. Between January and May 2021, the creator earned about $1,664 in total.
As a TikTok fan, I’m all for giving creators more opportunities to make money. Many of them work really hard to teach me how to cook, fold laundry, or simply laugh—and they should get paid for their efforts. The thought of TikTok making millions off the content on their platform while the people behind that content make pennies is outlandish. Overall, it’s just unfair.