Senator demands TikTok remove ‘devious lick’ trend

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to TikTok Tuesday demanding the platform do more to discourage the “devious lick” trend where students remove things from schools and other buildings.

“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. 

“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,” the Connecticut lawmaker wrote. 

The trend rose in popularity this month, with users one-upping each other by removing items as small as notebooks to whole sets of lockers.

The platform has already taken steps to limit the spread of the challenge.

A search for “devious licks” 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 was reportedly costing school districts thousands of dollars and prompted some sites to close bathrooms, where many items were being taken from.

Users on TikTok have already done some course correction themselves with the “angelic yield” trend, where they upload videos of themselves installing new soap dispensers or bringing new sets of pencils set to upbeat jazz.

The Hill has reached out to TikTok for comment on Blumenthal’s letter.

The lawmaker is also asking the company to make a representative available for an upcoming Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on the impact of social media on children and teens.

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