Why Is TikTok’s Creator Fund Going to Millionaires Like David Dobrik?
On Monday, TikTok announced the first batch of recipients of its Creator Fund, which begins at two million dollars and is expected to grow to one billion dollars over the next three years. The fund is intended to “support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content,” which is why when YouTuber David Dobrik was announced as one of the lucky winners, some people raised their eyebrows.
David Dobrik began as a personality on Vine before turning to YouTube in 2015, where he currently has over 18 million subscribers. While it’s true that the creator has shifted his focus to TikTok during the pandemic, where he boasts over 20 millions followers, it’s unclear how someone who already has a net worth of around seven million dollars needs money from a fund intended to bolster up-and-coming creators.
“Why is David Dobrik, an already established and wealthy content creator, getting a grant from TikTok?” one user lamented on Twitter. “Certainly that money could go to someone who actually needs it?”
“Why are millionaires receiving grants?” another asked.
Dobrik isn’t the only popular creator on the recipient list. Other famous faces, like Brittany Broski, Avani Gregg, and Spencer Polanco Knight, have also made the list, suggesting that this first batch of creators is more about retaining top talent than it is highlighting hidden gems. With TikTok’s future in question and a number of competitors like Reels popping up, it’s understandable that TikTok would want to keep some of its most popular users on the app. And just because they have a lot of followers doesn’t mean the creators don’t deserve to get paid.
“Creators give platforms value. David Dobrik should be paid by TikTok, because TikTok makes money off his videos,” one user said, adding, “But it shouldn't be from a fund that's supposed to help up-and-coming creators make the transition to doing it as a full time job.”
The fund could still do just that. It hasn’t even opened for applications yet—that happens in mid-August—so the initial recipients were hand-picked by TikTok. And they’re not exclusively millionaires. Darryl Jones, a woodworker from Florida with more than 27,000 followers, has also been chosen, and will likely use the fund to help grow his TikTok career while in-person classes and trade shows are shut down due to the pandemic. Costume designer Cheyenne Jaz Wise, awarded a slice of the fund to keep making videos for her almost 53,000 followers, is in a similar situation. As for David Dobrik, he was recently named as the host on a new competition reality show.