TikTok investigates ‘alarmingly immature’ farm stunt videos

IFA president ‘disgusted’ at social media clips featuring tractors, diggers and quad bikes

Social media videos featuring tractors, differs and quad bikes have been strongly criticised by the IFA.

 

TikTok, the video-sharing website, is investigating after footage emerged on its platform, apparently of machinery being misused on Irish farms for dangerous stunts.

Farming organisations on Tuesday morning criticised the behaviours seen on the platform as “an accident waiting to happen”.

A spokesman for the platform said it does not allow content “that encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury. Our safety team is investigating, and we will take appropriate action in line with our community guidelines.

Tim Cullinan, president of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), said some of the incidents were “grossly irresponsible and an accident waiting to happen”.

Some of the videos he highlighted featured tractors, quad bikes and heavy machinery. One video shows what appears to be a race between three tractors on a public road, while another shows a man sitting on the front of a tractor as it drives through a field at speed.

Another shows men sitting in the bucket of a digger as it rotated quickly, and another features a quad being driven up a steep embankment and almost overturning in the process.

“I am disgusted that people could be so casual and have no regard for the dangers involved in what they are doing,” Mr Cullinan said.

With eight farm fatalities recorded so far this year, the IFA president urged those making the videos to “take a hard look at themselves”.

“Too often, people are not willing to act responsibly and identify the risks,” he said. “All farmers and contractors need to make it clear to their employees that engaging in these practices is a sackable offence.”

TikTok, the Chinese video sharing app, allows users to upload and edit short videos of themselves. It has taken off in popularity in Ireland in recent months.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said the videos showed “alarmingly immature behaviour”. In a Twitter post he said those who feature in the clips are “boys tasked with adult work clearly incapable of responsibility”.

Mark Cullen, assistant chief executive with the Health and Safety Authority said: “The antics of the farm workers is these videos is shocking. Not only is there a complete lack of even the most basic safety precautions, there is a complete lack of common sense and total disregard for their own safety and the safety of those around them.”

He said the HSA “will not hesitate to take robust action where we can identify the individuals and the employers concerned”.

Pat McCormack, the president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), said the behaviour was “dangerous, irresponsible and had to stop”. Mr McCormack said it was an “invitation to tragedy” and said those making the videos should stop “if not for their own sakes then for the sakes of other road users who will end up injured or worse when the inevitable accident happens”.

Mr McCormack said that 99 per cent of farmers would be “aghast” at people not giving this work the concentration and focus it most certainly needed and he said there would be no sympathy or support for people caught and prosecuted for this kind of recklessness.