YouTube removes hundreds of videos promoting essay cheating site

YouTube clamps down on ad’s for homework cheating site Jonathon Lynam

Days after a BBC investigation revealed the presence of "more than 1,400 videos" promoting the essay writing company EduBirdie, YouTube has taken efforts to divest itself from the ethically-questionable service.

The removal of the videos was the result of an investigation that was posted by the BBC last week.

Numerous adverts urge students to use EduBirdie to hire a "super smart nerd" to write their essays.

YouTube says promotion of essay-writing services is banned by its advertising policies.

The adverts appear in the middle of videos covering a range of interests including: pranks, video games, fashion and dating. "You can't really blame EduBirdie or creators who promote them because everyone's got their own hustle". It was found that more than 1,400 videos with a total of over 700m views had contained ads selling the education cheating service to students. An English official said, "It's clearly wrong because it is enabling and normalizing cheating potentially on an industrial scale", and she called on YouTube to act. He also questioned why it has taken until now for YouTube to state that this is inappropriate conduct.

One channel, To Catch A Cheater, said 49 of its videos - a year's worth of work - had disappeared. Therefore, its unclear exactly how many videos YouTube axed, though the number is believed to at least be in the hundreds. In a statement to the BBC, Alpay B says: "Whether a student wants to cheat or not it's totally their choice".

The Google-owned company has taken action after a BBC investigation uncovered over 250 channels and 1400 videos promoting EduBirdie - a service that allows students to hire people to write their essays for them.

A YouTube spokesman issued a statement to the BBC: "YouTube creators may include paid endorsements as part of their content only if the product or service they are endorsing complies with our advertising policies".

YouTube said it will be working with creators going forward to increase their awareness that such ads are not acceptable.

Just or not, YouTube's quashing of EduBirdie is decisive.

Essay-writing services are not illegal.

Boosta, EduBirdie's parent company, said in a statement to the BBC that "we can not be held responsible for what social influencers say on their channels".

In a statement, EduBirdie's parent company Boosta seemed to distance itself from its own efforts to promote itself via YouTube creators, stating, "We can not be held responsible for what social influencers say on their channels".



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