Nearly 250 channels on YouTube are getting paid to promote EduBirdie, a Ukrania-based service which is supposed to ‘help’ students submit their assignments, essays, or writing papers within a short deadline. Reportedly, this is supposed to make life easy for some as these students instead spend their time on video games, drugs, or anything but studies. But what’s even worse is that these services are being promoted via YouTubers. These YouTubers who have a massive number of subscribers are encouraging students to seek the help of EduBirdie.
According to a BBC investigation, nearly 250 channels were found to be complicit in encouraging students to use the service. Out of these 30 channels were based in Ireland and Britain. These vloggers encouraged students to play video games and other things than write their papers. The Universities Minister of England, Sam Gyimah was reportedly shocked at the finding. He called the act conducive to normalising the act of cheating, that too, at an industrial scale.
According to a YouTube spokesperson, this feature goes against their advertising guidelines since it does not support paid promotion or services for essay writing. He reportedly said that it would be removed to make the YouTube vloggers understand that such malicious activity would not be tolerated.
Meanwhile, EduBirdie in its defence said that what YouTubers say on their channel, has nothing to do with them. It said that it is a YouTuber’s choice mostly on how they want to present the product. It reportedly said in a statement that EduBirdie has a disclaimer which says that the work for which the services were asked for should be used as reference or sample.
The investigation found 1,400 videos with 700 million views containing adverts encouraging people to cheat. These YouTube vloggers are reportedly paid a hefty sum for these services. Among those involved was a 12-year-old YouTube star. Some of the stars included are Adam Saleh (nearly 4 million subscribers), British Gamer JMX (2.5 million subscribers)
The endorsements entice the students that they would get a chance to play video games and enjoy while ensuring A+ grades in essays.
Interestingly the issue came to light after BBC‘s investigations, after which YouTube took some steps, otherwise, as always it would have been blind to the happenings.