Popular YouTube video creators are pushing students towards a notorious academic cheating service, the BBC has uncovered.
In an investigation revealed on the evening news, the Beeb found more than 250 popular channels have promoted the EduBirdie website.
The Ukrainian website enables students to buy original essays, written for them, free from the threat of plagiarism.
According to the BBC Trending probe, more than 1,400 videos totalling 700 million views are hawking the cheating service.
Videos surfaced by the report encourage students not to bother doing their essays and instead “enjoy your lives” instead. Some promise an A+ for an essay.
One particular video touts the fact a “super smart nerd” will do it for you.
‘Don’t waste your time’
British YouTuber Alpay B advisers users: “Don’t waste your time doing your essays, let these people do it for you.”
Stars like Adam Saleh and gamer JMX have been promoting the service, which isn’t actually illegal, and YouTube has removed some content from the site.
“I think YouTube has a huge responsibility here,” said Sam Gyimah, Universities Minister for England.
“They do incredibly well from the advertising revenue that they get from the influencers and everyone else. But this is something that is corrosive to education and I think YouTube has got to step up to the plate and exercise some responsibility here.”
A YouTube spokesperson told 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.”
“We will be working with creators going forward so they better understand that in video promotions must not promote dishonest activity.”
Have you noticed the EduBirdie website popping up on YouTube videos? Name and shame @TrustedReviews on Twitter.