AG Tong calling on TikTok to take action after recent challenges encourage students to damage schools, assault teachers

Connecticut

Conn. (WTNH) — Recent TikTok challenges have students tearing up schools and now threatening teachers. Connecticut’s Attorney General William Tong is stepping in to try and hold them accountable.

RELATED: October TikTok trend has Connecticut teachers concerned

Connecticut’s attorney general is known for going after the big companies, sueing Facebook and Google, and – now with the latest damage and threats in Connecticut’s schools – TikTok is in his crosshairs.

AG Tong said of the social media platform Monday, “You can’t just throw your arms up and say ‘oh shoot I’m sorry.’”

September’s TikTok challenge called ‘devious licks’ encouraged students to vandalize bathrooms in their schools. And students did it all across Connecticut. October’s challenge is called ‘slap a teacher.’ Tong says the social media giant needs to find a way to stop these dangerous posts.

“Don’t send me the employee handbook. Don’t send me the terms and conditions. I want action and I want to know from the CEO himself what they are going to do to stop this.”

TikTok did take down the devious licks hashtag and released a statement which says in part: “We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities.”

“It’s not working,” Tong replied to TikTok. “And either what you’re doing isn’t working or you’re lying to us, and if you’re lying to us I’m going to hold you responsible and accountable because I have a lot of tools in the toolbox to make that happen.”

When you search “devious licks” into TikTok, you get “no results found.” TikTok made good on their word and took down the hashtag. The attorney general is saying he is going to hold them to a higher standard because they have to be responsible for going after the people who perpetuate these challenges because it is very difficult to find that one person who started it all.

“People can be anywhere, any place, any state, any country, and that’s why we need the social media platforms to take responsibility. They make so much money they bear some responsibility and consequences on their product.”

The Connecticut Education Association says these social media challenges have disrupted teaching and learning, leaving some students feeling unsafe in their schools.

Kate Dias, the president of the Connecticut Education Association said, “It doesn’t take any effort whatsoever to find the TikTok challenges, so I hear concern from tiny districts in rural areas, to the suburban districts…It is a gross use of social media.”

Also in his letter, The attorney general has asked TikTok to come to Connecticut and hear from parents and students who are affected by this.

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