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YouTube pulls hundreds of videos containing ads for academic cheating site

Hundreds of YouTube videos have promptly been removed from the platform over the weekend, as a BBC investigation turned up that they facilitated promotion of an essay-writing service that enabled students to cheat. While not breaking any laws, EduBirdie was in violation of YouTube’s terms and conditions, resulting in its swift removal from the site.

The Ukranian company managed to rack up a total of 700 million views across its 250 sponsored channels, in which its advertisements ensured students that EduBirdie was the way to go for a cheap and easy way to pass class.

According to EduBirdie in a statement to the BBC, this was the way in which some users chose to interpret the company as it has given “influencers total freedom on how they prefer to present the EduBirdie platform to their audience in a way they feel would be most relevant to their viewers.”

Its real intentions lie within “research into the subject, generating initial input for further reasoning and citations” as well as working “in accordance with major educational standards as well as tailored to your college/university guidelines for plagiarism.”

Despite its image as a means to cheat, EduBirdie isn’t illegal. It is, however, in breach of YouTube’s strict guidelines as it falls falling into the category of “academic aids” that help test-taking and the writing of academic papers.

In light of the investigation, YouTube gave users a working week to remove the advertisements from the videos before they were forcibly taken down, resulting in many taking to Twitter to air their grievances with the company. YouTube has declined to comment whether or not it will allow those whose videos were removed to reupload the content without the EduBirdie advertisements.

“We do not allow ads for essay writing and so paid promotions of these services will be removed when we discover them,” states YouTube. “We will be working with creators going forward so they better understand that in video promotions must not promote dishonest activity.”

As a result, EduBirdie itself has deleted many of its YouTube videos, leaving just a single upload on its channel, giving its users knowledge on how to write an essay introduction.

KitGuru Says: Those complaining that these advertisements were once allowed fail to realise that many systems are automated and always flag a potential breach immediately and that this has seemingly always been against YouTube’s guidelines.  

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