TikTok is testing a new in-app tipping feature on its platform that would allow creators to accept money from fans outside of TikTok LIVE streams, where gifting is already supported. The company confirmed the feature is part of a limited test for the time being and is not yet broadly available.
TikTok is rolling out a Tips feature to some creators
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) October 27, 2021
Her video shows the new feature in her TikTok account's settings and the screen where TikTok details the requirements.
Creators who are part of the limited test can apply for the feature if they have at least 100,000 followers and are in good standing, the screen explains. Once creators submit an application to activate the feature, they’ll be notified when their account is approved. Creators that have been approved will be given a Tips button on their profiles, which their followers will be able to use to send them direct payments.
The Tips page also notes that the money received by creators will go directly to them and that TikTok will not be taking a cut. It’s unknown if TikTok plans to take a cut from creator Tips in the future if the feature progresses past the testing stage, but that seems likely.
"We're always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience," a TikTok spokesperson told TechCrunch, when reached for comment.
The feature is TikTok’s latest push toward monetization and helping creators earn a living through its platform. Last year, the company introduced a $200 million fund aimed at helping creators in the U.S. supplement their earnings. TikTok also helps creators sign brand partnerships and sponsorship deals and also provides monetization for livestreams. Considering TikTok's focus on monetization efforts, it’s no surprise that the company is experimenting with a way for creators to directly receive money from their followers.
TikTok also isn’t the only social media platform looking to offer creators more ways to make money, as the new Tips option is similar to Twitter’s "Tip Jar" feature that launched earlier this year. Similar to TikTok’s approach, Tip Jar is available to a select group of users including nonprofits, journalists, experts and creators.
TikTok and Twitter's direct tipping features appear to be a way for the companies to compete with other digital platforms like Instagram and YouTube, which offer lucrative ways for creators to make money.