A proliferation of disturbing and unspecific rumors on TikTok suggested that schools across the United States were facing threats of violence on Friday, December 17. While a number of schools have responded to the trend by closing their doors, many local law enforcement agencies and at least one have weighed in, revealing the threat does not appear to be justified. .
The Department of Homeland Security said it was aware of reports of a possible threat to schools, but found no “specific and credible threat.” Still, the agency urged that “communities remain vigilant.”
TikTok first noted the viral rumor Thursday, saying he was communicating with law enforcement but had “not found any evidence of such threats originating or spreading through TikTok.” While it’s true that the threat itself is nowhere to be found on TikTok, fear-mongering posts around the possibility of violence on December 17 abound and likely explain the rapid spread of the viral rumor nationwide.
“Love you guys, stay safe on December 17th,” the post under a related TikTok hashtag. In the comments, the video’s creator explained that “Okay, for everyone confused, there is filming [threats] and threats of bomb attacks on December 17th in schools in the United States, my school has been threatened twice. Followers told stories of recent bomb threats in their own schools.
TikTok re-examined the situation on Friday morning, saying that in coordination with the FBI and DHS, it was still unable to track down a credible threat that could have sparked the viral rumors.
In the United States, school districts and law enforcement weighed in on viral rumors, primarily urging caution while stressing that no specific threats had surfaced.
“There is no credible information that this threat relates in any way to an Illinois state school,” an Illinois police department said. tweeted Thusday. “The Glenview Police Department patrols all of our school grounds on a daily basis and will continue to do so. We encourage everyone to stay alert and report any suspicious activity. “
The Lee County Florida Sheriff responded to viral rumors with a TikTok video discouraging “fake threats” such as the frequent bomb threats that a number of American schools regularly receive.
Although the rumors could not be substantiated, schools in several states closed on Friday out of caution. Across the country, local and federal law enforcement continues to monitor the situation.