Josh Richards has signed on as an investor and chief strategy officer, while Griffin Johnson and Noah Beck will both serve as advisors and equity shareholders

By Jodi Guglielmi
July 28, 2020 04:54 PM
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Bryan Steffy/Getty; Griffin Johnson/Instagram; Noah Beck/TIkTok

A handful of TikTok's biggest stars have their eyes set on a new social media platform.

Josh Richards, Noah Beck and Griffin Johnson have joined the social media app Triller, citing growing security concerns on TikTok as their reason for the move.

But they won't just be posting content — the boys will also work behind the scenes with the app on their executive team. Richards, 18, has signed on as an investor and chief strategy officer, while Johnson and Beck will both serve as advisors and equity shareholders.

"The opportunity to work with the amazing people at Triller is something I am deeply committed to," Richards tells PEOPLE. "We are going to take the world by storm! Get ready, everyone.”

While the stars will continue posting their viral videos on TikTok, the group plans to slowly migrate their audience to Triller.

"I can’t wait to be a part of something bigger than myself," Johnson tells PEOPLE.

"I am here to make the creator community a more cohesive environment," adds Beck. "With the initiatives we are building at Triller, we will most certainly achieve our goal."

Triller is an L.A.-based music video that is also financially backed by rappers Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne.

The announcement comes as TikTok continues to face growing scrutiny over how it manages customer data.

“After seeing the U.S. and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok — and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers — I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution,” Richards said of his involvement with Triller, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement responding to the announcement, TikTok tells PEOPLE, "Tens of millions of Americans come to TikTok for entertainment and inspiration, especially during the pandemic — including our creators and artists who are building livelihoods from the platform. We're motivated by the passion and creativity of our community, and committed to protecting our users' privacy and safety as they share their stories, spark meaningful careers, and connect with a global community."

Richards, Johnson and Beck are among the app's top users, with a combined 37 million followers.

“User security is of the utmost importance to TikTok — we are fully committed to respecting the privacy of our users,” a spokesperson for TikTok told PEOPLE in part in early July after Amazon mistakenly asked employees to not use the app on their work devices.

TikTok, which allows users to share short videos featuring everything from dances and lip-syncing videos to viral jokes, was launched in 2016 and is owned by ByteDance, a tech company based in Beijing.

Though the company has maintained that it stores all U.S. user data in the United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in early July that the U.S. was considering banning it, along with other Chinese social media apps, due to national security concerns.

A TikTok spokesperson told CBS News at the time that the company has never provided user data to the Chinese government, and would not do so if asked. The spokesperson also confirmed to the outlet that the app’s operations in Hong Kong had ceased in light of a new security law backed by China that would ban treason, secession, sedition and subversion.

Plans to open a Transparency Center within the company were put on pause in May due to coronavirus.