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Today:

  • TikTok Pays Creators as Rivals Dig In
  • Amazon Wants to Use Sears and J.C. Penny Stores as Fulfillment Centers: WSJ

          TikTok Doles Out Money to Creators, Batting Away Rivals

          Tiktok announced today the first receipts of a $200 million creator fund including several Los Angeles-based app stars. It comes as the social app faces increased competition from those trying to lure away talent and the threat of an outright ban.

          The company has promised to up their funds for rising U.S. creators to $1 billion over the coming three years.

          Among the 19 selected so far is Los Angeles-based Alex Stemplewski, a photographer who shares the impromptu photo shoots he has with strangers in public with his 9.6M followers.

          There's also Justice Alexander, one of the top Latino creators on the app, who captures quick video of the many pranks he plays on his girlfriend and daughter with his 5.4M followers.

          Well-known TikTok-er David Dobrik recently gave away a Tesla to one of his more than 20M followers as part of a sweepstakes for the most heartfelt story.

          The Creator Fund will open their applications in the middle of the month for anyone 18 years or older looking to expand their work on Tiktok. To be considered, creators must have 10,000 followers or at least 10,000 video views in the last 30 days and follow community guidelines.

          President Trump recently signed an executive order that will ban the Chinese-owned company by September 20th unless it's sold to an American company before that date. TikTok has responded by threatening legal action.

          Amazon Wants to Use Sears and J.C. Penny Stores as Fulfillment Centers: WSJ

          live.staticflickr.com

          Amazon is in talks with mall operator giant Simon Property Group to convert Sears and J.C. Penney department stores into package distribution centers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

          The discussions come as Amazon continues to grow its e-commerce empire which has helped contribute to the downfall of brick-and-mortar retailers including Sears and J.C. Penney, which both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. That trend accelerated with the pandemic as malls closed and millions of consumers rely on Amazon for online shopping.

          Shares of Simon Property Group, which has 21 malls in California including the Del Amo Fashion Center, Brea Mall and Ontario Mills, jumped on the news. The company is set to report earnings after Monday's market close.

          Adding more warehouses would help Amazon speed up deliveries as the company plans to offer its Prime members 1-day delivery of their orders. Amazon posted $5.2 billion in profits in the second quarter, doubling its bottom line from the same quarter a year ago, despite spending more than $4 billion on COVID-19 initiatives.

          This story was originally appeared on GeekWire.

          Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.

          Today:

          • Sweetgreen COO Chris Carr Joins Hilton's Board of Directors
          • Snap's New Apps Aim to Get Young Voters Registered and Informed
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          Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.

          Today:

          • Instagram Launches TikTok Competitor, Reels

                  Instagram Launches TikTok Competitor, Reels

                  Instagram Reels

                  Reels, the Instagram video-sharing product to rival TikTok and Triller, launched Wednesday in 50 countries including the U.S.

                  Reels lets users create short-form edited videos with filters, all set to music. Creators can share them with their followers or, on public accounts, make them widely watchable through Instagram's explore page.

                  Reels represents Instagram's latest attempt to draw in users loyal to apps like TikTok, the Culver City-headquartered company that's in talks with Microsoft for a potential sale after President Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.

                  In a recent blog post promising more transparency, TikTok's CEO called Reels a "copycat product."

                  Before Reels, Facebook — which owns Instagram — tried its hand with Lasso, a similar product that shut down in early July.

                  YouTube is planning to release its own TikTok rival, Shorts, by the end of the year. The feature would also let users upload video featuring licensed music from YouTube's catalog.

                  Triller is another app that has seen user interest rise as TikTok hits headwinds. The company saw a massive uptick in users after India's prime minister banned a slew of Chinese apps including TikTok in June.

                  "Instagram is excited to see how the community gets creative with Reels and for members to discover + break a whole new generation of Instagram talent," the company said in a statement.

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