A TikTok trend doubling as a veiled threat prompted widespread school closures and stretched thin police resources, in addition to putting families through unnecessary fear, stress and anxiety.

School districts in states ranging from Minnesota to Texas announced they were shutting down schools on Friday in response to a wave of videos suggesting that students avoid coming to school on December 17. Other places had police on high alert with some officers guarding campuses.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it had no evidence to suggest the claims are legitimate but said to remain alert.

TikTok said Friday afternoon it had begun removing the warnings from its platform as misinformation. The social media company said it first learned of the warnings on Thursday afternoon.

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