Death of the Creator Fund

125 TikTok ditches fund in favour of Creativity Program

Issue #125 | Your reading time this week is 5 mins. 45 secs.

Welcome back to the Creator Briefing.

I’m late. I’m sorry. But does this time work better for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Here’s just some of what caught my eye this week:

  • TikTok shutters its $2 billion Creator Fund but says creators now have the potential to earn up to 20x

  • Grace Beverley gets called out over alleged hidden advertising

  • Does MrBeast run a Boys’ Club?

  • Aussie trade body, AiMCO gets new boss

  • Just 2 female creators make global top 10 list

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TikTok creators earn $250m in tips, lose $2 Billion Creator Fund but gain from Creativity Program

TikTok users sent more than $250m worth of digital gifts to US-based TikTok livestreamers in Q3. 

The spending spree marked a 20% rise on Q2 where creator fans spent $214m tipping their favourite US TikTokers. This is according to The Information

But, as one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away - TikTok’s $2 Billion Creator Fund is set to shutter from next month (16 Dec.). 

However, the platform’s Creativity Program promises to take up the slack in paying out to creators. “Creativity Program Beta gives you the potential to earn up to 20 times the amount previously offered by the Creator Fund”  TT tells influencers

Notably TikToks must be over a minute to be eligible for the Creativity Program. This may signal a shift in gear away from ultra short videos. The platform is already testing 15-minute uploads with select users. 

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Tea with Grace Beverley

Influencer marketer and content creator, Alice Bull, recently uploaded a TikTok calling out Grace Beverley. 

In the now-deleted video, Bull alleged that Beverley often fails to follow the CAP code - specifically that the influencer-turned-entrepreneur frequently publishes hidden advertisements.

Not so, responded Beverley in another TikTok - also since removed. Though the Tala founder did acknowledge in her video that there is “room for improvement” in terms of her ad disclosure.

There are five adjacent but separate areas at play with Grace Beverley’s content being called out on social media - along with her response to the video calling her out

  1. The current ad regulations we have in the UK

  2. The ad regulations we think we should have and deserve as influencer marketers and as creators-turned-company owners

  3. The apparently uneven approach to influencer marketing regulation in comparison with other marketing channels

  4. Vigilantism 

  5. Posting for clout over posting to affect positive change

Each area warrants attention. Sadly, it’s difficult to comment more fully as both videos have now been taken down. Briefly - 

Creators and marketers must abide by the CAP code if advertising in the UK. We may not always agree with every aspect of them. But we can’t opt out of them. Ignorance of the code is no defence - especially when creators are surrounded by professional advisers in the shape of talent and management teams. 

The best way to influence change with the CAP code is to speak as one unified, authoritative voice. The Influencer Marketing Trade Body is a member of CAP - the first new member in over a decade and the only designated body to represent the influencer marketing industry. DECLARATION: I am the director general of the IMTB.

No doubt Bull uploaded her initial video with the best of intentions. But the video was a form of vigilantism. As a regulatory system the ASA allows you to speak in your own defence and to present evidence.

Beverley was not afforded that right to my knowledge. Denying a right to reply runs the risk of calling out honest influencers in error.

MrBeast’s boys’ club or an overplayed hand from disgruntled female YouTuber?

Two years ago Rosanna Pansino, a YouTuber with 14.5m subscribers, took part in a MrBeast stunt titled "Extreme $1,000,000 Hide and Seek."

Fast forward to a week or so ago and Pansino says she came third in the game yet was edited out by MrBeast who declared Logan Paul, Larray, and Zach King as the top three.

Frustratingly, like Alice Bull and Grace Beverley in the story above, Pansino has since removed her posts to X. But, perhaps the frustration provides telling insight into the creator industry. 

On one side Pansino seemed to really ‘go to town’ with her gripes about being edited out of the top three. She appeared on two creator podcasts and posted several times to X on the subject. 

There were no runner-up prizes, so neither Pansino nor any of her followers missed out on prize money. 

However, Pansino has since claimed she has received death threats from her allegations and says the reason she kept schtum for so long was in fear of retaliation from MrBeast’s fanbase. It appears she was right at least on that one. 

Is the dogpiling merely a miserable symptom of social media in 2023 or is it misogyny manifest?

Are female creators treated worse than their male counterparts? We covered Forbes’ list of global top 50 creators in Creator Briefing #120.

In an industry overindexing in female talent is it odd that only two of the top ten creators are female? Or, that just 8 women make it into the top half of Forbes’ list?

Boast Post: I made it on again

My blog made it into Vuelio’s top 10 PR and comms blogs again this year. It’s the 6th year on the trot. And I’m rather chuffed about it. Over the years I’ve written and published close-to 300 influencer marketing-specific articles on the site.

1.5m UK firms use TikTok

Over 1.5m UK businesses use TikTok. Now the entertainment platform has created a website dedicated to promoting its services to SMEs.

The website includes testimonials and stats broken out by UK location. EG. 

  • In Wales SMEs use of TikTok contributes £64m to GDP in Wales

  • SMEs use of TikTok supports 1,410 jobs in Wales.

  • In the North East SMEs use of TikTok contributes £61 million to GDP. SMEs use of TikTok supports 1,180 jobs.

The website is a clever way to underscoreTikTok’s positive economic benefits with legislators, regulators and social media users.

In Creator Briefing #114 we covered in greater detail the total Gross Value Added (GVA) of SMEs on TikTok.

  • We noted GVA rose to £1.63 billion to UK GDP when investments in supply chains, and wider economic impacts are factored in. 

  • The food and drinks sector benefitted the greatest (£0.6 billion). 

  • Business services (£0.3 billion) and culture and entertainment (£0.2 billion) were also key sectors that saw an increase in revenue due to investments on TikTok

  • Small businesses on TikTok contributed £1.63 billion to UK GDP in 2022, according to a new report from Oxford Economics.

Fan of gaming influencer travels 600 miles to torch her car

Para-social turned to pyrotechnics when a male fan of a female gaming streamer discovered she had a boyfriend. 

28-year-old Farhan Jami travelled 600 miles from New York to Cincinnati and blew up the influencer’s car using thermite explosive.

According to Jami’s lawyer, the man had been sending tips online to the influencer and was ‘heartbroken’ when he discovered she was already in a relationship and he stood no chance of requited affection. 

Was the influencer leading the fan on in order to receive extra tips? Or, more likely, is this an extreme example of the one-sided relationships community members can have with the influencers they follow?  Here, Jami extended emotional energy, interest and time, whilst the influencer, was completely unaware of his existence.

AI, EO, Abba and Bletchley Park

Björn Ulvaeus, the guy with the guitar in ABBA, posed three interesting questions about creators and AI this week in the Financial Times:

“How should original creators be properly remunerated for use of their works to train AI? Should creators have the right to refuse? Who, if anyone, owns the AI output?”

AI was a sticking point in Hollywood’s long-running actors’ strike. The actor union SAG-AFTRA had been holding back from agreeing to the ‘last, best and final’ offer from studios (AMPTP) because the studios had wanted to be able to secure AI scans for actors who appear in films or who are regulars on TV series. 

SAG-AFTRA wante the studios to pay the actors when they reuse the AI scans. It appears they got their way. In the last hour the union agreed a tentative deal with Hollywood studios to end a near four months-long strike.

More broadly, legislators this week got serious around AI regulations. British Prime Minster, Rishi Sunak got world leaders - including those from the US and China - to sign his Bletchley Declaration.

However, whilst in the UK for Sunak’s AI summit US vice-president Kamala Harris held a presser where she told journos: “Let us be clear: when it comes to AI, America is a global leader.” Days earlier US President Joe Biden had signed an Executive Order (EO) aimed at regulating AI.

Biden’s EO expects to see: 

  • Generative AI content identified, detected and tagged.

  • Privacy-preserving techniques front-of-mind in AI’s development (i.e. to protect creators from having their voice, image, and likeness cloned via AI)

DIG DEEPER: FACT SHEET: President Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. US lawyer, Franklin Graves, wrote a piece for Passionfruit which covers the EO and how it affects the creator economy. 

UK ad trade bodies launch generative AI principles

ISBA and the IPA have announced 12 guiding principles for agencies and advertisers on the use of generative AI in advertising.

The principles are broad-brush and designed to ensure that the industry embraces AI in an ethical way that protects both consumers and those working in the creative sector. They cover issues around transparency, intellectual property rights, human oversight, and more.

Transparency inside and out 

Principles include ensuring advertisers and agencies’ use of AI is transparent to the public. Advertisers and agencies should also be transparent with each other about their use of AI - and not seek to pass off generative AI content as human created. 

Another principle addresses headcount concerns - AI should help rather than replace people. 

Australian trade body gets new boss

The Australian Influencer Marketing Council (AiMCO) announced today the departure of its long-standing CEO Josanne Ryan and the appointment of Patrick Whitnall into the newly created role of Managing Director.  

Josanne founded AiMCO in September in 2019 - alongside her colleague Heather Craven. Under Josanne’s leadership AiMCO has flourished supporting agencies, marketers, talent mangers, creators, and the many businesses within the creator marketing ecosystem.  

Key AiMCO initiatives include:

  • Code of Practice, 

  • Annual industry awards

  • Accreditation programme

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