This is a multi-agency letter sent to TikTok from law enforcement across Georgia calling on the internet platform to act in the interest of students and their safety.
To Whom it May Concern,
With the latest school tragedy in Michigan, schools systems and law enforcement agencies across the country are having to deal with student unrest and parent concern regarding whether it is safe for their children to attend school. In addition, both are having to deal with copycat posts and shared stories that threaten the safety of a school, without particularly identifying a specific school or a specific location of the threatened school.
During the 2021 academic year, schools throughout the United States have had to deal with the published “TikTok Challenges” that led to property damage and disruption of the safe school environment. Most recently, there was an anonymous “TikTok Challenge” that called on students to commit acts of violence on Dec. 17, 2021. Labeled as the “December 17 National Shoot up Your School Day,” the challenge did not name a specific school or district but went viral and caused school districts and law enforcement agencies across the nation to take precautions and respond to parent and student concerns alike.
While TikTok did put out a statement regarding its cooperation with law enforcement to look into warning about potential violence at schools, it is our opinion that TikTok has offered a delayed response in taking immediate action related to the removal of these types of posts from its platform as they are posted and has allowed for widespread dissemination of these threats. In turn, more school systems were affected, and more law enforcement services had to be allocated to provide students, and their parents, with a feeling of safety and precaution.
TikTok has a duty, if not a moral obligation, to proactively monitor the content of posts on its site and to immediately remove posts that violate the terms of service and cause concern over the safety of the public. This is especially true when it concerns the safety and security of our young people.
We ask that you support the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and school systems nationwide in providing safe school environments for our children to learn and grow. TikTok can do this simply by being diligent in monitoring of posts to its platform and in the immediate removal of any post that causes concern over school safety. We have seen TikTok immediately remove content that is much less disruptive without blinking an eye and the expectation that you address these other posts with the same immediacy is not overreaching or unreasonable.
Please govern yourselves accordingly.
Madison County Sheriff