Imagine scrolling through TikTok and stumbling upon a video where a virtual watermelon slice is skillfully maneuvered on screen, gathering seeds. As the last few seeds are collected, large bubbled watermelon slices burst forth, swirling around the user’s head. Meanwhile, a moving rendition of Lorde’s “Team” by Palestinian-Canadian artist Nemahsis accompanies the captivating scene.

Amidst the flood of TikTok filters, the watermelon game stands out. Unlike typical entertaining filters, this one has a deeper purpose — it serves as a call for action, aiming to transform content creation into a force for social justice.

The Purpose of the Watermelon Filter

At the heart of this interactive TikTok “game” is AR effects designer Jourdan Johnson (@XoJourdanLouise). Named “Filter for Good,” it’s more than just fun; it’s an extended reality (XR) experience designed to support ongoing humanitarian efforts in Palestine.

Launched during escalating conflict in Gaza, the filter saw a surge in usage as TikTok increasingly became a platform for information and activism, particularly related to the Palestinian cause.

When Johnson introduced the filter on November 6, she urged users to join her in supporting Gaza. Unlike traditional donations, this initiative involves TikTok effect creators participating in the Effect Creator Rewards program. Here’s how it works:

“USE THIS FILTER 🍉 to help the people of Gaza. As an AR creator, I am part of the Effect Creator Rewards program… I have created this FILTER FOR GOOD effect and will be donating the rewards earned to charities providing aid in Gaza. I know many of us don’t know how to help, but it can be as simple as posting a video with this filter!”

The filter’s imagery of watermelon slices is a nod to a long-standing Palestinian symbol, cleverly skirting online restrictions on displaying the Palestinian flag. The filter quickly gained traction, amassing millions of uses, including videos from major influencers and celebrities. Johnson has pledged to allocate the earnings from the filter to relief organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, and Human Appeal.

How the “Filter for Good” Generates Humanitarian Aid

Understanding the financial impact of the filter is slightly complex. Unlike a typical dollar-per-view model, creators earn through TikTok’s Effect Creator Rewards program, where creators with popular effects can receive direct payments for their use and paid promotion opportunities.

Johnson, a platinum badge earner and an “Effect House Top Creator,” clarified that a filter can start earning rewards once it garners 200,000 “qualified publishes” within 90 days. The earnings are based on the number of publishes, with definite limits and a schedule for payouts.

By November 15, the filter had achieved 4.5 million qualified publishes out of 6.3 million uses, resulting in $12,442 in earnings. October’s contributions were set to be paid on November 15, with November’s earnings scheduled for distribution on December 15.

Is the “Filter for Good” Making a Difference?

Shortly after Johnson’s initiative, other creators introduced their versions of “filters for good,” supporting Israeli-led humanitarian efforts, which raised concerns about information oversaturation amid critical global events. Johnson promptly addressed these concerns, emphasizing the importance of credible creators and detailing plans for distributing the donations to aid organizations.

She also highlighted the filter’s potential to serve as a conduit for sharing information and educating the masses, urging users to utilize the filter meaningfully beyond simply gaming TikTok’s algorithm. Johnson consistently updated followers about non-monetary ways to support the cause, stressing the importance of spreading information, contacting representatives, and making informed consumer choices.

The “Filter for Good” is an innovative social media activism tool, offering a glimpse into the future of online mobilization and education. Johnson acknowledges its potential but also cautions against the possibility of it being a mere token gesture, overshadowing more substantial contributions. Nevertheless, for many without the financial means to donate, this provides a meaningful avenue for support and involvement in global issues.


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