TikTok, a fast-growing smartphone video app, pledged to donate $250 million to coronavirus relief efforts around the world on Thursday.
TikTok, who has been assailed by U.S. authorities and lawmakers for possible security threats, said the funds should be for “front-line medical workers, educators, and local communities severely impacted by the global crisis.”
Similar announcements were made by technology companies, including Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter.
TikTok President Alex Zhu said “We are committed to playing our part in this global outpouring of mutual support and giving”.
“We want to magnify all we are seeing across our community and translate it into concrete relief for those most affected by this crisis.”
TikTok said $150 million of the funds would be allocated for medical staffing, supplies, and hardship relief for health care workers through the US Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organisation, and agencies working to distribute supplies in hard-hit countries including India, Indonesia, Italy and South Korea.
Another $40 million will be donated to “organizations that serve groups representative of TikTok’s diverse user communities, including musicians, artists, nurses, educators, and families that have come together on our platform,” Zhu said.
TikTok said it would match $10 million in donations to its “community relief fund,” with some of that going to artists, songwriters, and music professionals hurt by cancelled performances and gig work.
Another $50 million will be applied to a “creative learning fund” to support distance learning efforts worldwide.
TikTok is dedicated to helping SMBs weather this crisis, and they will be providing $100M in ad credits to help companies get back on their feet once economies are able to restart normal activity. The program will begin rolling out to markets in the coming months, depending upon the decisions of public health authorities around the world regarding when and how to restart business operations.
TikTok has become one of the most commonly used social platforms in recent months and has seen interest surge during the pandemic, popular with young people for its short music videos.
According to the analytics platform SensorTower, the application, owned by the Chinese development group ByteDance, obtained 65 million global downloads in March.
FBI, the Justice Department and Homeland Security have cautioned that the video-sharing app could become another tool exploited by Chinese intelligence services. TikTok has refused any ties with the Chinese government.