TikTok has announced a series of relief funds and initiatives to support those fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, and to help other individuals and organizations struggling with its impact. In total, the company is pledging $375 million; including $250 million in funds, $100 million in ad credits, and $25 million in ad space for public health information.
The $250 million in funding is split into a couple of different relief funds. There’s the Health Heroes Relief Fund ($150 million), which will provide money for medical staff, supplies and hardship relief for healthcare workers. Then there’s its Community Relief Fund ($40 million) which provides money to organizations helping communities that have been hit hard by the health crisis (TikTok will also match an additional $10 million in donations). Finally, the service has pledged $50 million to support distance learning initiatives.
Along with the direct funds, TikTok is promising $25 million in ad space to help NGOs, health authorities, and local authorities to deliver public health information. TikTok has been criticized for allowing coronavirus conspiracy theories to spread on its platform. Last month, MediaMatters reported on one conspiracy theory that warned of an imminent “national quarantine,” which spread in a series of videos with thousands of views between them. These videos remained on the service, despite TikTok updating its rules of conduct back in January to crack down on misinformation that can cause harm.
Finally, there’s $100 million in ad credits to help small and medium-sized businesses which are struggling in the wake of the pandemic. TikTok says the program will be rolling out worldwide in the coming months, but added that this rollout will depend on the advice around restarting business operations given by health authorities.
TikTok is far from the first platform to have announced funding or ad credits for organizations hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Google has announced a $200 million investment fund and $340 million in ad credits for small and medium-sized businesses, Apple has launched a $50 million fund to help the music industry, while Facebook has invested $100 million in journalism to support reporting that’s now more essential than even. Earlier this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also announced he would be donating $1 billion in equity, amounting to over a quarter of his net worth, to fund COVID-19 relief worldwide.