The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a rumoured series of “school-shooting challenge” videos on TikTok that threatened to undertake on Friday multiple gun and bomb attacks on schools across the US.
Though most school authorities and law enforcement agencies downplayed the threat, many schools sent notices to parents to stay alert. Some schools even cancelled classes on Friday.
Security was beefed up in many school zones. There were no incidents reported on Friday.
The FBI said that it would investigate the threats. "The FBI takes all potential threats seriously. We regularly work with our law enforcement partners to determine the credibility of any threats," it said in a statement.
TikTok claims there were no such videos with threats on its platform, but said there were videos discussing the rumour.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
“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.”
The company added that the media was responsible for creating panic over the rumoured challenge.
The rumours said that a challenge was doing the rounds to carry out mass shootings in American schools on December 17. It came three weeks after a shooting in Oxford, Michigan, that left four dead.
Schools in the US have reportedly been receiving an increase in threats on social media since September, but until this rumour, the threats were mostly local or regional, rather than nationwide.
There have been 32 shootings on American campuses in 2021, according to Education Week.