Think TikTok is a waste of time? Not for these teens and young adults who are apparently making boat-loads of bucks on the video-sharing app!
According to Forbes’ first-ever roundup of the highest-earning TikTok stars, which focused on the content creators “native” to the Chinese-owned platform as opposed to traditional celebs that have just as large followings on the app, TikTok’s biggest names are each pulling in over $1 million annually posting silly dance videos, pranks, makeup magic, and other short-form vids Gen Z can’t seem to get enough of.
But the getting might not be good for too much longer, as President Donald Trump issued an ominously vague executive order on Thursday banning US transactions with ByteDance, the Beijing-based parent company of TikTok.
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What’s so bad about TikTok, you ask? Well, according to the order, the app “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users,” like internet activity, location data, and browsing history — basically the same as a lot of apps we use every day, frankly. BUT it potentially gives China access to Americans’ personal information. The order argues that China could possibly compile “dossiers of personal information for blackmail” and conduct “corporate espionage” against federal employees and contractors.
You know, kind of like the thing Facebook did that Cambridge Analytica used to help elect Trump…
As of now, the scope of the ban remains unclear; some think it could affect more than just TikTok as popular games League of Legends and Fortnite are also co-owned by the Chinese company. But the orders said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross “shall identify the transactions” that will be subjected to the ban when it takes effect after 45 days. So… stay tuned, we guess.
In the meantime, take a look at TikTok’s highest-earning creators (below)!
The former journalism major is the platform’s top-earning star, bringing in an estimated $5 million in 2019 with the help of her 54.1 million followers; her new makeup line, Item Beauty; and deals with American Eagle and Spotify.
The 16-year-old has used her dance skills to become the platform’s most popular user, with almost 77 million followers, and the app’s second-highest earner. Charli has made $4 million through sponsorship deals with companies like Hollister and Morphe Cosmetics in the 12 months she’s joined the app — and her personal, The Hills-esque drama with TikTok bad boy Lil Huddy and their influencer friend group has only fueled her TikTok fame.
Right behind Charli is her big sis, who raked in a cool $2.9 million last year. The 18-year-old regularly appears alongside her sibling in their brand campaigns, but she’s also getting ready to fly solo — in the music industry! The music video for her first single, Be Happy, has garnered over 61 million views since it dropped in June.
TikTok’s fourth-highest earner has been on the app since 2015 when it was called musical.ly. In the years since, she has grown her fan base, signed a deal with Virgin Records, appeared in Taylor Swift’s The Man video, and landed several sponsorships. Within the past year, Loren brought in an estimated $2.6 million dollars thanks to partnerships with Revlon, Skechers, Burger King, and Hyundai.
He might not be on TikTok for much longer, but he’s certainly used the app to his advantage. Over the past year, Josh made $1.5 million in earnings with his sponsorship deals and ad revenue from his YouTube channel. But he’s not just a pretty face: the 18-year-old also co-founded his own talent management company, TalentX, a beverage company, Ani Energy, and was brought on as the chief strategy officer of Triller — a TikTok competitor he’s moving to in response to Trump’s ban. With the hair of an influencer and the brain of an entrepreneur, we expect big things from TikTo… er, *Triller’s* resident heartthrob.
Head over to Forbes to see more of TikTok’s highest earners.
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