APRIL 23, 2024

For Creators, Reality Bytes

For Creators, Reality Bytes


The Creators Guild of America (CGA) today voiced its support for TikTok creators and platform users, stressing that the platform represented a significant portion of the revenue creators depend on for their livelihoods.

“For most members of Congress,” stated CGA founder and president Daniel Abas, “TikTok may as well be an abstraction. It's the thing their kids or grandkids watch, or else a potential security liability. But for our members—and the creator economy at large—TikTok is an essential revenue generator. TikTok puts food on creators' tables and roofs over their heads. That's not to discount lawmakers' concerns, which merit both serious attention as well as a degree of scrutiny. But there's a side of the TikTok story—the creators' side—that isn't being heard in the national debate.”

As reported in March by the Washington Post, TikTok contributed $24.2 billion to domestic GDP in 2023, and that's without counting the revenue generated by TikTok Shop, a sales and marketing platform that substantially increased TikTok's role in the digital marketplace. Its unique model, which exposes viewers to content outside of their established subscription lists, is utilized by 7 million businesses and 170 million consumers. Research by Oxford Economics found that 39% of small business owners surveyed said that the platform was crucial to the health of their businesses, with 69% citing their use of the app as key to increased sales. The reliance on TikTok is even more pronounced among entrepreneurs of color, with more than 80% of Black, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander small business owners citing the platform as a significant sales booster.

“TikTok is so much more than a feed of lighthearted dance videos. For 7 million American entrepreneurs and small businesses, it is the very source of their livelihood," says CGA board member Nick Rizzuto. "No other platform offers quite the same level of engagement and discovery for these creators. Banning TikTok isn't a matter of canceling someone's fun online distractions. It's a question of amputating a key revenue driver for an entire sector of professionals—a sector largely composed of young entrepreneurs and people of color. These professionals and their businesses deserve creative solutions by their representatives beyond the nuclear option of an outright ban. ”

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (352-65) to compel divestiture on the part of TikTok's owner ByteDance—a Chinese company—given the potential for sharing of user data with the Chinese government, as well as bad actors' use of the platform to spread disinformation. That legislation is now on the fast track to a Senate vote. Should ByteDance continue to refuse to consider divestiture, the legislation—if subsequently passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden—would effectively amount to a ban on the use of the platform within the U.S.

“No one should be cavalier about the security risks implicit in TikTok's Chinese ownership,” says CGA Vice President Jason Davis, “or about its potential to corrupt political discourse, especially during an election year. But nor should they be cavalier about the impact that a TikTok ban will have on the domestic economy in general, and on creators' livelihoods in particular. Before banning TikTok, Congress should seek ways to make US-based platforms more competitive via increased support or oversight, and to demand higher standards for moderation and accuracy across all varieties of social media. Creators shouldn't have to choose between what's good for their business and what's good for their country.”

Such creators are already grappling with a deck that's stacked against them, Abas elaborates: “Despite the fact that professional creators now number in the millions, including hundreds of thousands who generate $100K+ in annual revenue, 'digital creator' is not even recognized as an occupation in the U.S. government's Standard Occupational Classification Manual. This is a vital and rapidly expanding segment of the American workforce that deserves to be supported by the federal government. Not only are these professionals not getting the support they need, they're facing the possibility of seeing one of their key sources of revenue shut down, with no means
of replacement.”

Since its launch in 2023, the Creators Guild of America has vigorously advocated for the interests of creators, supporting the professional community with a broad range of programming and initiatives to give creators greater control over their careers, including its new accreditation system and database, as well as a variety of educational forums and events. Among its members and associates, TikTok is one of the most widely utilized platforms for distributing content, building personal brands and generating revenue.

“The Creator Generation is among the most innovative and entrepreneurial that our country has ever seen,” asserts Chris Thomes, a CGA Advisory Board member and content producer. “They have to be. W-2 employment is vanishing. College degrees are losing their value. Prices remain inflated. Left to fend for themselves, creators have been driven to create new revenue streams by whatever means at their disposal. If TikTok is banned, that's more than just funny dances going away; that's mortgage payments vanishing, that's monthly rent and yearly vacations evaporating. The threats posed by the platform are largely a matter of speculation, but the losses that would be incurred by its being banned are painfully real. And those burdens will have to be carried by a group already working as hard as they can just to keep their heads above the water line.”

“Keeping our elections free of both foreign interference and domestic propaganda is a non-negotiable priority,” declares Abas. “But the fact that this debate can take place in Congress without any significant contribution from creators speaks to a broader issue. Individual creators are some of the most exciting new voices in contemporary media. The vast majority are citizens acting in good faith, simply trying to secure their livelihoods. But those creators themselves don't have the benefit of a collective voice. The Creators Guild of America was founded in order to give creators—as well as the ecosystem of professionals that surrounds them—a platform from which to share their unique insights and concerns. We hope this debate serves as a wake-up call to creators. If the profession cannot speak with a unified voice, they won't be heard in the halls of power. But if creators can come together under a single banner, the profession can begin to lead the debate on issues like stopping misinformation. Rather than reactive response, creators can and should be a part of proactive solutions to the challenges they face.”

About the Creators Guild of America

The Creators Guild of America (CGA) is the non-profit 501(c)6 professional service organization established to protect and promote the rights and interests of digital content creators. Launched in 2023, the CGA offers a variety of benefits to creators, including its accreditation service, its monthly Conversation series covering essential topics in the creator economy, networking and information-sharing opportunities, and advocacy within the media industry and in time, at the state and federal level. The CGA maintains an aggressive agenda for 2024, including appearances at the NAB Show in Las Vegas in April and at VidCon in Anaheim in June, as well as the introduction of its CGA Shield standards and the debut of its creator screening series, the first big-screen exhibitions programmed specifically for digital creators and their work. The CGA is led by its admin team, Board of Directors, Chairs and Advisory Council, populated by established professionals drawn from content creators, platforms, service providers and thought leaders from within the creator economy.


The Creators Guild of America is the official 501(c)(6) non profit organization that protects and promotes the interests of digital creators.

Creators Guild of America © 2023

The Creators Guild of America is the official 501(c)(6) non profit organization that protects and promotes the interests of digital creators.

Creators Guild of America © 2023