TikTok Bans ‘Devious Lick’ Trend on Platform of Students Stealing School Property
By Movieguide® Staff
Perhaps the most popular social media application, TikTok, recently announced that they would remove videos following the latest trend of students stealing school property.
The viral videos, which became known as “devious licks,” featured students taking items like wet floor signs, microscopes, clocks, and other items from their school. The trend spread like wildfire on the app and encouraged students in the illegal behavior.
“We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities,” TikTok said in an email statement. “We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior.”
The trend went viral on TikTok, where the most prominent audio associated with the challenge has been used in over 109,000 videos. Many of the videos associated with the trend — some parody or jokes — have amassed millions of likes and views, while others number in the hundreds of thousands.
Schools are also holding the students responsible.
“We will investigate every single video, we will monitor and use social media footage to catch the students responsible and we will ask for law enforcement intervention in every situation while also providing school discipline at the maximum level allowed,” the principal of River Ridge High School, located in Florida, wrote on Facebook.
“Please talk with your student immediately, as all students involved in the making of the video, destruction of property or watching and cheering on the destruction will be addressed and face consequences,” the post added.
According to NBC News, the trend started after a TikTok user posted a video of himself with a box of stolen masks.
The trend started after TikTok user @jugg4elias posted a video of himself pulling a box of disposable masks out of his backpack with the caption, “A month into school absolutely devious lick. Should’ve brought a mask,” according to meme database Know Your Meme. That video received roughly 239,000 views in a week, Know Your Meme reported.
Days after @jugg4elias posted his video, another user, @dtx.2cent, posted a video showing that he had allegedly stolen a hand sanitizer dispenser, according to Know Your Meme. That video reportedly earned 7.2 million views.
Those two accounts, and their “devious licks” videos, appear to have been removed as of Wednesday. TikTok said it can’t comment on specific accounts.
However, the two videos were enough to start a trend among young students.
“Countless devious licks videos have millions and millions of views, and while some are obviously jokes, others are not so clear at all. Stealing trends are on the rise on TikTok, with a trend where users steal the head off of a LeBron James action figure also going viral just in July,” Phillip Hamilton, an editor at Know Your Meme, told NBC News.
“At this point, devious licks has spread outside the platform. It’s all over Instagram, Facebook, you name it. I’m not surprised they did it, just surprised that they let it get to such a point before taking steps to shut it down,” he added.
In the past, TikTok has banned hashtags that violated community guidelines, including a trend where people would stack milk crates as high as possible and a ‘blackout’ challenge.
“We expect our community to create responsibly – online and IRL. We’re removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers,” TikTok posted on Twitter.
We expect our community to create responsibly – online and IRL. We're removing content and redirecting hashtags & search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior. Please be kind to your schools & teachers. pic.twitter.com/mIFtsYwFRb
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) September 15, 2021
This “devious licks” trend captures the downside of social media influence. Teachers across the country are pleading for children to participate in school lessons while students just want to steal to impress social audiences. Media-wise parents should sit down with their social media savvy teens and discuss the consequences of these trends.