It may be hard to believe that an app as usually innocuous as TikTok could force the hand of a major government agency but it has somehow happened.
A TikTok video allegedly inspired a challenge to commit acts of violence at schools on December 17th across the United States, and after videos about the potential danger began to spread across TikTok using hashtags like #december17, even the DHS felt they needed to comment publically on the subject as many parents and children were wary of going to school on Friday.
“DHS does not have any information indicating any specific, credible threats to schools but recommends communities remain alert,” the DHS said via Twitter.
While the rumors of violence have skyrocketed, it seems neither the Department of Homeland Security nor TikTok themselves has been able to find credible information about actual threats. The TikTok Communications Team commented on the situation on Twitter.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok….
Local authorities, the FBI, and DHS have confirmed there’s no credible threat, so we’re working to remove alarmist warnings that violate our misinformation policy. If we did find promotion of violence on our platform, we’d remove and report it to law enforcement.”
Despite TikTok’s claims of removing videos about December 17th, an entire discover page for the rumor exists, with videos about it having already gotten over 79.3K views. While no major violent acts seem to have been reported yet at United States schools, we can only hope both the Department of Homeland Security and TikTok are correct so students can stay safe throughout the day.