TikTok has announced a series of relief funds and programs to help those combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assist other individuals and organizations battling its effects. The corporation promises $375 million in total; including $250 million in equity, $100 million in ad credits and $25 million in public health information ad-space.
The $250 million in aid is divided into a few separate relief funds. There’s the Health Heroes Relief Fund ($150 million), which will provide healthcare professionals with funds for medical services, equipment and support from hardship. Then there’s the Community Relief Fund ($40 million), which gives funds to groups supporting communities hit hard by the health crisis (TikTok will now match a further $10 million in donations). The service has recently promised $50 million in support of distance learning initiatives.
TikTok is offering $25 million in ad spaces, along with the direct funds, to help NGOs, health authorities and local authorities provide information on public health. TikTok has been criticized for allowing conspiracy theories about coronavirus to propagate on its website. MediaMatters posted a conspiracy theory last month that warned of an imminent “national quarantine,” spreading through a series of videos with thousands of views between them. Following TikTok updating its rules of conduct back in January, these videos stayed on the site to crack down on misinformation that can cause harm.
Ultimately, there’s $100 million in ad funding to support small and medium-sized businesses suffering in the wake of the pandemic. TikTok says the system will be operating worldwide in the coming months, but added that this operation will rely on the advice provided by health authorities about restarting business operations.
TikTok is far from the first website to declare support or ad credits for COVID-19 pandemic-stricken organizations. Google, for example, has announced an investment fund of $200 million to $340 million in ad credits to small and medium-sized companies, Apple has launched a $50 million fund to benefit the music industry, and Facebook has invested $100 million in journalism to promote coverage that is now more important than ever. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also announced earlier this week that he would donate $1 billion in equity to fund COVID-19 relief worldwide, amounting to over a quarter of its net worth.