the claim: a group of men on tiktok plan to commit a sexual assault on April 24 for “national rape day”
As communities celebrate sexual assault prevention and awareness month, a disturbing trend is going viral on tiktok: warnings about “national rape day.”
The prevailing narrative is that a group of six men recently created a tiktok video encouraging others to commit sexual assault on April 24.
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Millions of social media users have seen 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.
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“If anyone has plans for April 24th, don’t come out! There are men planning a national rape day, stay inside!” read an image shared on facebook.
Another widely shared image says the threat comes from “six men on tiktok” who “claimed that on April 24, 2021 it is legal to sexually assault anyone, and even gave advice on how to do it.” This image is a screenshot from an April 17 article in the online publication Distractify.
This hasn’t stopped social media users from promoting their fears to their followers. Most of the discussion took place on tiktok, where #april24 had over 31.1 million views and over a thousand videos at the time of publication. the vast majority of those videos contained safety warnings and dooms of the day.
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Some messages advised women to stay home, travel in groups and carry weapons, while others made veiled threats to those who might commit aggression.
A viral video compared the day to the movie “The Purge.”
Several law enforcement officers participated in the trend by posting videos threatening to arrest potential assailants.
According to crowdtangle, there are over 1,000 facebook posts and almost 50 instagram posts about “national rape day” in the week before this fact check was published.
usa today contacted multiple accounts that posted about the alleged threat.
No evidence of the original threat
tiktok confirmed today in a statement to us. uu. that he has not found the so-called original video on his 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. “Although we have found no evidence on our platform of any video related to this topic, our security team remains vigilant and we will remove content that violates our policies.”
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usa today analyzed over 100 videos under #april24 from tiktok and found no record of the original alleged threatening video. some creators claim to have seen the video, but did not share a link, join it, or do it as a duet.
usa today contacted several creators who posted about the original video. none responded to requests for comment.
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Several media outlets, including distractify, newsweek and tech times, reported on the trend online and referred to the “six men” who made the initial threat. the articles did not provide any evidence that the journalists had seen the video.
On April 19, newsweek updated its report to include a statement from tiktok and explain that there is no evidence of the initial threat.
our rating: false
We call the claim that a group of men on tiktok plan to sexually assault women and children on April 24 in observance of “national rape day” false because our research does not support it. Despite countless social media posts responding to the alleged threat, neither USA Today nor TikTok have found any evidence that the video makes the original threat as claimed.
our fact checking sources:
- rainn, retrieved april 19, “sexual assault awareness and prevention month”
- distractify, april 17, “what’s happening on tiktok april 24? disturbing trend, explained”</li
- tiktok, accessed april 19, #april24
- la.tania.ftn2, april 17, tiktok video
- gorgeous_allday, April 18, tiktok video
- itzjtyler, April 17, tiktok video
- skillerswag, April 18, tiktok video
- anthony_2890, April 18 april tiktok video
- officeralphabet, april 18, tiktok video
- usa today, april 19, email with tiktok spokesperson
- newsweek , Apr 18, “Apr 24 Disturbing Tiktok Trend Explained, & How To Report Videos”
- newsweek, Apr 19, “Tiktok ‘No Evidence Found’ Of Apr 24 Videos in the midst of an alarming trend”
- tech times, April 18, “April 24 tiktok trend: what is it, how do they eat zo and how to report it”
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, Rainn offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-hope and online.rainn.org).
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Our fact-checking work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.