Making money on TikTok just got a lot easier—that is, if you’re one of the lucky people selected for the newly-announced $200 million TikTok Creator Fund. The app, which has been under increased scrutiny recently thanks to its Chinese parent company, Bytedance, has otherwise blown up exponentially these past few months. With millions of Americans stuck quarantining at home, TikTok has become both a convenient source of entertainment and an opportunity for those who can no longer work their typical jobs during the pandemic to pivot towards content creation on the app. TikTok is now making the latter option even more lucratively appealing for creators, and will begin distributing the funds over the next year.

While YouTube creators can earn money from ads alongside their videos and Instagram creators can do sponsored posts, TikTokkers are still in the early stages of figuring out how best to earn money directly on the app. Similar to Instagram, a brand can pay them to post about a product, but there’s an expectation of authenticity on TikTok that’s antithetical to product placement, and these sponsored posts are often met with ridicule. 

The TikTok Creator Fund is seemingly the answer to this problem, encouraging creators to post the exact same content people follow them for and get paid for it, but it’s not hard to anticipate some sticking points. For instance, applications for the fund open August 1st, and users who are 18 years or older, have a certain number of followers, and post consistently are eligible. While the number of followers required isn’t disclosed, this is a barrier to entry that could exclude the lesser-known, minority creators that would most benefit from this type of support (Black creators frequently point out how their content is not promoted on the app, therefore making the fund’s minimum follower count harder to achieve). 

YouTube launched a similar initiative in 2011, YouTube NextUp. The 25 winners of the first NextUp Creator Contest each received $35,000 to fund their channels and the opportunity to attend a 4-day YouTube Creator Camp in New York City. Almost 10 years later, the program still exists, but instead those chosen attend a 5-day YouTube Creator Camp and receive $2000 for equipment.