TikTok Bans 'Devious Licks' Trend Which Saw High School Students Arrested

TikTok has taken action to remove any videos promoting the rising "devious licks" trend on the platform, as the hashtag becomes unsearchable on the app too.

The "devious licks" trend began in September and spiraled across the U.S. as high school students damaged and stole school property and shared the footage online. TikTok user @jugg4elias is cited as the originator of the trend, after uploading a video of himself taking a box of disposable masks from his backpack on September 1. "A month into school. Absolutely devious lick," he captioned the clip.

Within days, users had copied the video idea and stole other items from their schools too, including user @dtx.2cent who showed a hand sanitizer dispenser in his school bag, gaining over two million views.

As the trend's popularity increased, so did the stakes. Students began destroying bathrooms, including removing sinks from walls and removing fire alarms in a bed to go viral online.

Some videos depicted the "licks" in action—one showed a student removing a fire extinguisher from a wall mid-lesson, while another showed a failed attempt to steal a hand sanitizer.

Now, TikTok has stood up against the trend, much to the relief of high schools and parents across the country. In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for TikTok said: "We expect our community to stay safe and create responsibly, and we do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities. We are removing this content and redirecting hashtags and search results to our Community Guidelines to discourage such behavior."

Searching "#deviouslicks" would previously result in a lengthy amount of viral videos, but it now simply doesn't appear. #deviouslickstrend and #deviouslickschallenge do still appear on the search results, but only show one, unrelated video when clicked on.

The social media company also publicly tweeted its stance on the trend, writing: "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."

Although the challenge started as seemingly harmless "licks" including masks and pens, the stolen objects reached new heights and even resulted in the arrests of students.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Boone County Schools in Kentucky reported that the trend led to the arrests and charges of various students.

The Daily Ridge also reported that School Resource Officers arrested a 15-year-old at Bartow High School in Florida and accused him of criminal mischief and theft after he allegedly stole two hand soap dispensers from the school, both valued at $45 each.

Various schools across the country have reportedly been on high alert since discovering the existence of the trend, and have sent home letters to parents concerning it.

School student emptying rucksack
Stock image of a school student emptying bag. Getty Images