Georgia school districts ramped up security — and some closed — in response toa viral TikTok trendwarning of potential violence on Friday (December 17), joining municipalitiesacross the countryin the effort to keep schools safe.
The Polk County School District canceled “out of abundance of caution,” according to a statement on the district’s Facebook page. Atlanta Public Schools remained on high alert, according toWSB-TV. The school district said in a statement shared withlocal news outlets, in part: “We have heard reports from other districts that the same post is circulating in their schools. While we do not believe the threat to be credible, our Atlanta Public Schools Police Department and other metro-area law enforcement are closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously. You may see additional security and police presence in our buildings on Friday as an added precaution.”
TikTok said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday (December 16): “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.”
The social media platform added Friday:
“Update: we've exhaustively searched for content that promotes violence at schools today, but have still found nothing. What we find are videos discussing this rumor and warning others to stay safe.
“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.
“Media reports have been widespread and based on rumors rather than facts, and we are deeply concerned that the proliferation of local media reports on an alleged trend that has not been found on the platform could end up inspiring real world harm.
“We understand it can be difficult to know how to assess viral warnings online. We have a guide on ourSafety Centerto help people assess this kind of content.”