A 'Kool-Aid Man' TikTok challenge is being blamed for reported incidents of vandalism, but the platform says there's no evidence the trend exists

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A 'Kool-Aid Man' TikTok challenge is being blamed for reported incidents of vandalism, but the platform says there's no evidence the trend exists
TikTok said that it hasn't found any evidence of a "Kool-Aid Man" fence-breaking challenge on its platform, despite claims that broken fence incidents are related to a supposed challenge.ghornephoto via Getty Images
  • Local news reports have linked fence vandalism incidents to a "Kool-Aid Man" TikTok challenge.
  • A TikTok spokesperson told Insider it hadn't found any evidence of the challenge on its platform.

There isn't any evidence that a "Kool-Aid Man" challenge encouraging teenagers to smash through fences is circulating on TikTok, a spokesperson for the platform told Insider, despite numerous reports linking fence destruction incidents in the United States to the supposed challenge.

News reports from Idaho, Ohio, and New York have linked reported fence vandalism incidents to the so-called TikTok challenge. Commercials for Kool-Aid, the fruit-flavored drink, have in the past shown the brand's mascot — a sentient human-sized glass jug filled with the drink and known as the Kool-Aid Man — smashing through walls, tables, or other surfaces and yelling his catchphrase "oh yeah!"

Insider was unable to find any specific examples of a "Kool-Aid Man challenge" on TikTok that showed people running through or otherwise vandalizing fences.

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A TikTok spokesperson told Insider that the company had conducted a review of the "Kool-Aid Man Challenge" on TikTok and did not find evidence that the trend existed or was circulating on the platform. TikTok's community guidelines prohibit content that "depicts, promotes, normalizes, or glorifies" dangerous acts, including "amateur stunts or dangerous challenges."

A recent New York Post article attributed reported incidents of fence vandalism in Westerleigh, Staten Island, to the purported challenge, citing an anonymous homeowner who said her fence was vandalized and that she had seen someone on Facebook say it was possibly due to a TikTok challenge.

Sgt. Jessica McRorie, a spokesperson for the NYPD, confirmed to Insider two November incidents in which Staten Island residents reported that unknown persons had intentionally damaged their fences, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to whether investigations revealed that they were tied to any TikTok trends.

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In Caldwell, Idaho, another property owner told local news station KTVB 7 that his fence and others in the neighborhood had been vandalized as part of a TikTok challenge in November. The outlet reported that Caldwell Police were investigating the issue; the department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment as to whether investigations had linked the incidents to TikTok.

The Massillon Police Department in Ohio also linked fence vandalism incidents to TikTok in a November 23 Facebook post, attributing them to a "kool aid man challenge." The department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Reports of similar incidents surfaced in July in Omaha, Nebraska, with local news station WOWT 6 News reporting that juveniles had destroyed as many as 15 vinyl fences in the city in incidents that the Omaha Police Department initially linked to the alleged TikTok challenge. Lieutenant Neal Bonacci of the OPD told Insider that after an investigation, there was no evidence of the incidents being related to a TikTok challenge.

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Other hoax challenges like the fake "slap a teacher" challenge have been attributed to TikTok in the past without evidence that they were spreading on the platform. TikTok recently launched additional resources regarding online challenges to help teenagers, caregivers, and educators better understand dangerous challenges and hoaxes that circulate online.

Read more stories from Insider's Digital Culture desk.

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