TikTok Stars Like Griffin Johnson Are Turning on the App
TikTok’s troubles are now coming from inside the app. With the platform at the center of privacy debates due to its ties to China, a number of competing TikTok apps have popped up in an attempt to syphon users from the Gen-Z behemoth. Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that a handful of popular TikTok users from content creation group Sway House have not only moved over to copycat app Triller, but have accepted positions as advisors and employees at the company. Now, they’re actively discouraging their following from using the app that made them famous.
“[C]annot wait to leave tik tok, download triller i made an account and will be using it along with josh & noah,” Griffin Johnson tweeted earlier this week, adding that he and fellow Sway House members Josh Richards and Noah Beck were working to help “build a safe and user first platform.”
Now, they’re on the offensive. Not only has Triller sued TikTok for patent infringement over a new Green Screen Video effect, but people like Johnson are tweeting out articles that criticize TikTok’s security and liking tweets that are skeptical of the app. In one article shared by Johnson, a Reddit user claims to have “reverse-engineered” the app and described it as “a data collection service.” Johnson also shared the Daily Mail’s coverage of Donald Trump’s comments on a potential TikTok ban.
“i mean it’s for the best if [TikTok] gets deleted bc of how unsafe it is:/” reads one tweet liked by Johnson.
TikTok has adamantly disputed any privacy concerns, and doesn’t appear to be privy to any more user data than places like Facebook. However, Joe Biden’s campaign has moved to ban the app from staffers, after Amazon briefly prohibited its employees from having the app on their phones before quickly walking it back.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S.,” a company spokesperson said in the midst of the initial controversy. “We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
But this wasn’t enough to retain the loyalty of some of the app’s biggest users, and now their fans are being forced to pick a side.