US Fact check: Viral TikTok trends surrounding warning of sexual assault on April 24 are unsubstantiated
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The claim: A group of men on TikTok plan to commit sexual assault on April 24 for "National Rape Day"
As communities observe, a disturbing trend is going viral on TikTok — warnings about “National Rape Day.”
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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) led a group of Senate Republicans on Thursday in reintroducing legislation to ban the use of social media app TikTok on federal government devices, citing potential national security concerns. The No TikTok on Government Devices Act would ban all federal employees from using the popular app on government devices. The legislation was previously introduced in 2020, and was unanimously passed by the Senate in August, but the bill never received a vote in the House."TikTok is a Trojan horse for the Chinese Communist Party that has no place on government devices-or any American devices, for that matter," Hawley said in a statement Thursday.
Theis that a group of six men recently created a TikTok video in which they encouraged others to commit sexual assaults on April 24.
Millions of social media users have viewed or shared reactions to the perceived threat on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. However, neither USA TODAY nor TikTok could find any evidence of the threat users were responding to.
“If anyone got plans on April 24th DONT GO OUT!!!! there are men planning a national RAPE DAY STAY INSIDE!!!!”an image shared on Facebook.
claims the threat comes from “six men on TikTok” who “claimed that on April 24, 2021, it’s legal to sexually assault anybody -- and they even provided tips on how to do so.” This image is a screenshot of an .
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Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Josh Hawley from Missouri, reintroduced legislation to ban the social media app TikTok from government devices, citing the Chinese-owned platform as a major national security risk. © Provided by Washington Examiner The No TikTok on Government Devices Act was initially introduced in 2020 and easily passed in the Senate in August, but it was not voted on in the House. This time, the bill has some new co-sponsors: GOP Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida, and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado will also introduce similar legislation in the House.
This has not stopped social media users from promoting their fears to their followers. Most of the discussion took place on TikTok, wherehad more than 31.1 million views and more than a thousand videos at the time of publication. The vast majority of those videos contained safety warnings and condemnations of the day.
Some poststo stay home, travel in groups and carry weapons while others to those who might commit assaults.
One viral videoto the movie “The Purge.”
Several law enforcement officersby posting videos that with arrests.
According to CrowdTangle, there have more than 1,000 Facebook posts and nearly 50 Instagram posts about “National Rape Day” in the week before this fact check published.
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USA TODAY reached out to several accounts that posted about the purported threat.
No evidence of the original threat
TikTok confirmed in a statement to USA TODAY that it has not found the purported original video on its platform.
"Keeping our community safe is our priority, and we do not tolerate content that promotes or glorifies non-consensual sexual acts including rape and sexual assault,” a TikTok spokesperson wrote in an email. “While we have not found evidence on our platform of any videos related to this subject, our safety team is remaining vigilant and we will remove content that violates our policies."
USA TODAY analyzed more than 100 videos under TikTok'sand found no record of the purported original, threatening video. Some creators claim to have seen the video but did not share a link, stitch or duet it.
USA TODAY reached out to several creators who posted about the original video. None responded to the requests for comment.
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Several news outlets, including, and , have reported about the online trend and referenced the “six men” that made the initial threat. The articles did not provide any evidence that the journalists had viewed the video.
Our rating: False
We rate the claim that a group of men on TikTok is planning to sexually assault women and children on April 24 in observance of "National Rape Day" FALSE, because it is not supporting by our research. Despite countless social media posts responding to the alleged threat, neither USA TODAY nor TikTok has found any evidence of the video purportedly making the original threat as claimed.
Our fact check sources:
- RAINN, accessed April 19, " "
- Distractify, April 17, " "
- TikTok, accessed April 19,
- la.tania.ftn2, April 17,
- gorgeous_allday, April 18,
- itzjtyler, April 17,
- skillerswag, April 18,
- anthony_2890, April 18,
- officeralphabet, April 18,
- USA TODAY, April 19, email with a TikTok spokesperson
- Newsweek, April 18, " "
- Tech Times, April 18, " "
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE &).
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can .
Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
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