An investigation by BBC has revealed that at least 250 different YouTube channels have been promoting EduBirdie, an academic cheating service that allows students to pay in order to have their work done for them. According to the probe, over 1,400 videos with around 700 million total views were all found to be promoting EduBirdie. Universities Minister for England Sam Gyimah said that "YouTube has a moral responsibility to act," noting that the phenomenon is promoting the normalization of cheating "on a potentially industrial scale." YouTube, for its part, has stated that it will not allow creators on its service to promote such content, and will take steps to remedy the newly uncovered situation.
A number of popular YouTubers are among those who have endorsed EduBirdie. Adam Saleh, with four million subscribers on YouTube, is one among that large number. Following BBC's investigation, however, many of the videos featuring EduBirdie endorsement have been taken down by their creators, including those made by users as young as twelve. EduBirdie itself is an essay writing service based in Ukraine that will write research essays for students, for the right price. The consequences of using such a service, if a student is found out, can be quite severe. That is to say nothing of the fact that the student is learning nothing by having others do the work for them.
Endorsements of the service are appearing on such a wide range of channels and videos that children are starting to upload videos of themselves mimicking the advertisements. Rather than adhering with YouTube's normal advertising policies, these YouTubers are speaking to viewers directly in their videos to put out an endorsement for EduBirdie, with some saying that the service will free up students' time for more enjoyable things such as video games. The moral implications and cultural links in this troubling trend should be quite obvious and mean that problems such as this one will take a while to solve when they crop up, and will probably continue to happen as long as there is a platform to host unethical paid endorsements and their companion videos.