Celebrities and media companies are among the 800 U.S. recipients of a $50 million fund that social media platform TikTok is directing toward remote learning efforts as communities respond to COVID-19.
José Andrés, Bill Nye, Lilly Singh, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Tyra Banks are among the notables on the list, joining educational institutions, experts and media publishers like PBS Nature and Aquarium of the Pacific. Deadline’s sister publication WWD is also receiving funding.
Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships for TikTok U.S., wrote in a blog post that the U.S. resources are part of a $250 million global effort by the company. Short-form videos resulting from the initiative tackle everything from health and wellness to conservation, food, fitness and fashion.
“The joy of learning on TikTok is that the content offers instructional tips and takeaways in a creative format, teaching something useful and inspiring users to seek out more information in a way that is fun and engaging,” Thoensen wrote. “Our community has been drawn to videos that highlight unique science experiments, useful life hacks, creative math tricks, easy DIY projects, and motivational messages and advice.”
The company is looking into new ways to showcase instructional content, Thoensen added, and is building a creator learning portal aimed at helping video makers maximize the platform.
TikTok is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that ByteDance collected $17 billion in total 2019 revenue, which was more than double the 2018 figure. TikTok has seen its usage surge in many parts of the world, particularly during 2020 pandemic shutdowns, and is ramping up its pitch to advertisers redirecting money toward digital and social media. Kevin Mayer, a longtime lieutenant of Bob Iger at Disney, is moving to TikTok to become its CEO, a move that made big waves when it was announced earlier this month.