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Mayor Evans, Morelle tell TikTok to remove 'car theft 101' videos

Kias, like the car parked here, have been a top target for car thieves.
Kias, like the car parked here, have been a top target for car thieves.

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25) joined local leaders on Tuesday to call on TikTok to take down videos on that social media platform that show people how to steal a car – in particular Kias and Hyundais.

Morelle’s letter to the Chinese company comes as officials announced this week that in the past five months 900 of the 1,300 vehicles that have been stolen in the county outside of the city, are of those models.

Morelle contends thatTikTok isn’t living up to its own guidelines by allowing these videos to remain on their site.

``Think about it a how to video on how to steal a car,” said Morelle. “I mean, it's beyond troubling. I don't even know how to give voice to how outrageous that is. And here you have a company who has guidelines that suggest they'll remove those videos, and they're doing nothing about it.”

Morelle said standards that apply to media companies don’t apply to social media companies, and it may be time for Congress to step in.

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans argues TikTok is going against their own policies which say this kind of video shouldn’t even be on their platform.

``It's really not social media social nonsense that we're seeing, and it's endangering young people,” said Evans. “It's contributing to the delinquency of minors, not saying that they are causing it, but they're contributing to it. “

Officials said there have been 500 Kia and Hyundai vehicles stolen in the city so far this year.

Morelle says a previous letter to Kia and Hyundai led to some changes and that’s the hope with TikTok, as well.

According to the Washington Post, a spokesperson for TikTok said in January that, ““TikTok does not condone this behavior which violates our policies and will be removed if found on our platform.”

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-FM 105.9/AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.