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Tags: richard blumenthal | tiktok | devious licks | challenge | trend | school | bathroom

Senator Demands TikTok Do More to Stop 'Devious Licks' Trend

a tiktok icon on a smart phone screen

By    |   Tuesday, 21 September 2021 12:11 PM EDT

A Democrat senator is demanding TikTok do more to stop the "devious licks" trend.

The social media challenge known as "devious licks" has encouraged students to steal everything from soap dispensers to bathroom stall doors to shelves of COVID-19 tests to entire toilets.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., sent a letter to TikTok Tuesday demanding the platform do more to discourage the trend, The Hill reported.

"You have a responsibility to delete videos, ban users, and restrict hashtags that glorify property damage and threats to school safety to prevent this destructive behavior from spreading," Blumenthal wrote to TikTok chief executive Shou Zi Chew, The Hill said.

"While TikTok has taken steps to remove these videos, these actions were too little, too late and do not make up for the damage to schools across the country."

Blumenthal asked the company to make available a representative for an upcoming Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on the impact of social media on children and teens, The Hill reported.

The "devious licks" trend rose in popularity this month, and the platform has taken steps to limit the spread of the challenge.

A "devious licks" search on the short-form video app returns no results and is accompanied by a message saying "this phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines."

At its peak, the trend reportedly was costing school districts thousands and prompted some sites to close bathrooms, from where many items were being taken.

Blumenthal accused TikTok of exploiting children to make money Monday, citing more than 94,000 videos showing students throughout the nation ripping soap and paper towel dispensers from walls, smashing mirrors, clogging toilets, and boasting about stolen school property.

"It's all about the business model," Blumenthal said during a press conference at the state Capitol, the Hartford Courant reported.

A TikTok spokesperson said Monday the company continues to remove the videos.

"We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities," TikTok told the Courant. "We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior."

Blumenthal, though, said that response was "too little, too late."

Some TikTok users are using an "angelic yield" trend in which they upload videos of such things as the installation of new soap dispensers.

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A Democrat senator is demanding TikTok do more to stop the "devious licks" trend.
richard blumenthal, tiktok, devious licks, challenge, trend, school, bathroom, vandals
Tuesday, 21 September 2021 12:11 PM
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