TikTok accounts impersonating schools to upload offensive content about teachers are cropping up in a new trend across the UK

TikTok logo on phone screen
Police say the impersonation of school to post offensive content on TikTok could constitute a crime. Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images
  • TikTok accounts imitating high schools are appearing across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

  • Several of these accounts appear to mock and target specific teachers and students.

  • The tag #schoolaccount has over 7 million TikTok views.

A new trend where people make TikTok accounts posing as high schools is spreading across the UK.

Accounts first started appearing at the end of October, with the trend continuing to grow this month. At the time of writing, TikToks under the tag #schoolaccount have amassed over 7 million combined views.

Schools and authorities across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland have told various media outlets that they have identified and received reports about accounts of this nature.

These TikTok accounts often have a school crest as their profile pictures and a handle containing the name of the school. Of the various accounts viewed by Insider, many are posting TikToks naming and showing images of specific teachers and students at the school. Some of the TikToks mock these individuals and others make various serious allegations against them.

Some accounts identified by Insider also include the names of schools in Scotland. The content posted on these accounts - which include allegations and jokes containing names and pictures of staff members - suggests they aren't officially affiliated with the schools they are named after. Police Scotland did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

In one post from a since-deleted "school account" viewed by Insider, the user, who said they were a student of the school, said they were evading identification through the use of the virtual private networks (VPNs) that conceal IP addresses, making it harder to track a user's location.

Several TikTok accounts Insider previously identified have since been deleted. TikTok also appears to have disabled search terms associated with the trend. When searching the phrase "school account," a page appears saying "no results found," along with a message that reads, "This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines."

Two high schools Worcestershire, England told local news outlet Worcester News that they were aware of accounts impersonating them, while Birmingham Live reported that the principals of two high schools in Birmingham, England, issued separate letters to parents after identifying TikTok accounts impersonating their schools. According to Birmingham Live, one of these letters said police had been contacted in relation to these accounts.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland also told the BBC they had received a number of reports of TikTok accounts imitating local schools being set up, and that it may constitute a crime under misuse of telecommunications or harassment.

In Wales, multiple schools and local representatives told WalesOnline they had identified TikTok accounts impersonating schools and posting offensive images.

Dr Patrick Roach, the general secretary for teachers' Union NASUWT, which represents teachers across the UK, said in a statement to Insider, "The use of misleading and fake accounts on social media is causing reputational harm for individual teachers and for schools."

He added, "It is vital that social media companies take responsibility by preventing false or fraudulent impersonations on their platforms and are held fully to account for their actions and the actions of those who use their platforms. Impersonating public services is not tolerated offline and should not be tolerated on online spaces either."

In a statement to Insider, a TikTok spokesperson said, "We take all reports of hate speech, bullying, and harassment extremely seriously. Our community guidelines make clear that we do not tolerate content that contains bullying or harassment, including statements targeting an individual, or hateful speech or behavior, and we remove content that violates these guidelines."

A government spokesperson for the UK department of education told Insider, "We are engaging with TikTok on the steps being taken by them to address this issue involving teachers."

They added, "We are aware that some schools are experiencing an issue with content on TikTok, and we are deploying additional measures to detect and remove violative content, as well as working closely with the affected schools, teachers, and other partners."

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here.

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