ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. — Two more TikTok accounts have been removed from the social media app after reports of bullying and “abusive” behavior toward middle school students in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
Last week, an account on TikTok was using the logo from a Parkway School District middle school and bullying students. The district and school resource officers had tried to get the account taken down but hadn’t heard back from TikTok. The same day FOX 2 contacted Tiktok’s media department, the account was taken down.
It’s a similar story in Wentzville. A family said they had been trying to get an account taken down that was bullying a family member in the Wentzville School District, but TikTok had not taken it down. Within hours of FOX 2 contacting the media department on Monday, the social media site took down the account and its videos for “abusive” behavior.
Shannon Paddock said her family member was the one that was bullied on the now-banned account.
“It’s horrible that those children could be struggling in their homes right now because kids put that out in the world to see,” Paddock said.
She said several people reported the videos and accounts for days. She said some of the videos were taken down for a short time, but then added back again. She said they received an email saying this did not violate TikTok’s guidelines. So, she reached out to FOX 2.
“We weren’t getting anywhere with TikTok at all,” Paddock said. “The site was still up, no response. So we reached out to you, and within a matter of hours, it was taken down. And it’s just so frustrating that we tried as just average everyday moms to do this.”
Paddock said she would like to see school districts and police departments have the ability to get accounts taken down timely and give out consequences if possible.
“TikTok needs to step up and take responsibility for what they are doing,” Paddock said. “We have to protect our kids.”
The family shared an email from the school which said the school didn’t have jurisdiction over what’s posted on social media but would let the school resource officer know.
The Wentzville School District said in a statement Tuesday night: “The district does try to work with families and TikTok to ask them to take down inappropriate videos.”
Sgt. Robert Powell with the Chesterfield Police Department said the process to ask TikTok to remove posts is not difficult, but TikTok doesn’t give them a timeframe on when any action would be taken.
FOX 2 asked TikTok about the discrepancy in timing and was sent this:
“From July – Sept 2021, 93.86% of content was removed within 24 hours of it being posted on our platform.”
Experts said there are warning signs that your student may be getting cyberbullied or cyberbullying others. Here is the list to watch out for: https://cyberbullying.org/cyberbullying-warning-signs.pdf