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Some YouTube Stars Are Being Paid To Sell Academic Cheating (bbc.com) 125

A BBC investigation has found that more than 250 YouTube channels are being paid to sell academic cheating. Specifically, they are promoting EduBirdie, which allows students to buy essays, rather than doing the work themselves. From the report: The BBC Trending investigation uncovered more than 1,400 videos with a total of more than 700 million views containing EduBirdie adverts selling cheating to students and school pupils. EduBirdie is based in Ukraine, but aims its services at pupils and students across the globe. Essay writing services are not illegal, but if students submit work they have paid for someone else to do the penalties can be severe. The company is not just aiming to capture the attention of university students with its advertising. Popular YouTubers, some as young as 12, are being paid to personally endorse the service. In some of the videos YouTubers say if you cannot be bothered to do the work, EduBirdie has a "super smart nerd" who will do it for you. The adverts appear in videos on YouTube channels covering a range of subjects, including pranks, dating, gaming, music and fashion. Following the BBC's investigation, both have now removed videos with EduBirdie adverts from YouTube. A YouTube spokesman 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."
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Some YouTube Stars Are Being Paid To Sell Academic Cheating

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That treasonous dunce can't even get away with colluding with Russia's attack on America without leaving an incriminating trail of emails from his idiot son to a person who identified herself as a representative aiding in Russia's assistance to Trump.

    This is basic stuff. Rich white dumbfuck affirmative action will only get you so far. There is no way this retard finished a university degree without cheating.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well .... the real helpers were the DNC for forcing a candidate that was universally hated and had a history of losing every time she ran for an elected position

  • Because eventually, you'll end up in a situation where the option to cheat won't be available, and you'll be exposed for not knowing your shit, or else you'll be caught, and then the jig's up. Any trust that anyone may have placed in you up until that point is shot to hell.

    In theory it might give you a moderate head start at certain things, but in the long run it's so self-defeating as to not be worth the effort taken to conceal it.

    • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @06:25PM (#56538484) Journal

      Because eventually, you'll end up in a situation where the option to cheat won't be available, and you'll be exposed for not knowing your shit, or else you'll be caught, and then the jig's up. Any trust that anyone may have placed in you up until that point is shot to hell.

      "Congratulations on your promotion."

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @06:27PM (#56538500)

      As an engineer, I will never be in a position of being "exposed" for being unable to write a good essay about Shakespeare's "Midsummer night's dream". Real life is not like college.

      You are also presuming that people cheat because they can't do the work. I think I actually could write a good essay about MSND if I cared to. I just preferred to devote time to things that actually mattered, like my engineering courses.

      • Furthermore, I doubt if any of the 'cheat' services could provide material to cheat at engineering courses. Sure, we all see the obvious requests for 'help on a project' in programming and embedded design forums where the asker is looking for somebody to hand them a turnkey solution, but that's not the same thing.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          I think they will be able to in the future, if they not already do it. The consequences will fortunately be a disaster for the student, because cheating in engineering subjects does not get you very far.

          • I imagine that this is happening way more than one would guess based on the OPs observations. Asking for a solution on stack overflow is cheating for the lazy. There are plenty of platforms out there where you could hire somebody as a consultant to do a project and they might not even realize that they're doing homework and facilitating cheating.
            • by gweihir ( 88907 )

              When I did my CS studies, only around 50% made it to year 3. There was a large exam after the first 2 years back then. From a totally non-scientific survey of the fellow students I knew, most cheaters on the exercises did not make it and a few made it only after they had repeated a full year. Those that fought through the exercises themselves mostly made it.

              It was later explained to me that the exercise were only graded to provide good preparation for the exams and to make it clear they are to be taken seri

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And you are presuming that people only cheat on exams that don't matter to their main field of study.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        "I just preferred to devote time to things that actually mattered, like my engineering courses."

        A Midsummer Night's Dream was written over four hundred years ago. Care to tell us what you're working on now that people in 2418 will talk about?

        Still think what you're doing matters?

        This contemptuous and dismissive arrogance from engineers whose only contributions are to next year's e-waste is tiresome.

        And I work in engineering.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ...that's kinda their point.

          We're not here trying to make a living selling something that will outlive ourselves, we're not putting our mark on things or having eloquent phrasing.

          We're making a living designing and planning things that have to last a fixed duration, with regular maintenance.

          The two are different it's kinda mind-boggling. I've gotten in trouble at IT jobs before for using words that were 'too complicated' or 'too subtle' before, so yeah I tend to write ticket updates like a redneck hillbilly

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I doubt if anybody's undergraduate essay on Shakespeare's play will mean much of anything to anybody even a century from now.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @06:44PM (#56538554)

        You are also presuming that people cheat because they can't do the work. I think I actually could write a good essay about MSND if I cared to. I just preferred to devote time to things that actually mattered, like my engineering courses.

        One of the time-honored excuses of cheaters. Turns out, they usually are quite wrong with their self-evaluation. Arrogance and stupidity have synergistic effects.

        • How about this:
          Back in the day, when i was in school, I had to write essays on various things dead people wrote. I was good at it and got high grades. But after a while the tasks became boring as hell. I was still able to write a good essay, but it was painfully dull to do it.
          At the time there was no Internet to speak of in my country and essay services were definitely not invented (probably not for another decade). So I simply stopped doing it. Told my parents and my teachers I literally don't want to d it

          • I was still able to write a good essay, but it was painfully dull to do it.

            Probably not. If you aren't interested in your own writing, no one else will be.

            • Why do you say that? Do you mean to say I must necessarily be passionate about everything I am good at?
              • If you can't find something interesting about a topic, how will you be able to present something interesting about it to someone else? Your lack of interest will show through in your writing.
                • That's an assumption, isn't it? Let's say I'm good at baking bread. I don't find it interesting because I really wanted to be a writer instead; but everyone who tastes my bread is ecstatic about it. How does my interest in baking make any difference to the outcome? Or would you like to argue that writing is more creative than baking and should be treated differently? How about making movies or playing the piano?
                • Your lack of interest will show through in your writing.

                  Only if you're a bad writer.

          • Can I please see your poems or part of your novel? You made me curious.

            • They're in Romanian mostly but I have a couple attempts in English. See below an example:

              Logoi Spermatikoi

              The seed of knowledge do we seek
              Until our hearts lay broken dead;
              We never ever reach our peek,
              And skies go black, and stars go red...

              The seed of flesh do we accuse
              To carry us to nowhere's land;
              But who's to blame, tell me, my muse?
              The corpse of Hope lies in our hand...

              We are all doomed to never find
              The beauty that we couldn't see;
              As blindness covers all mankind
              A

      • by mark-t ( 151149 )

        I'm saying only that cheating requires invoking a deception, one which might bear a striking resemblance to fraud, and that the effort that one must go through to maintain the deception is nowhere nearly worth the loss of trust that one experiences if or when their lack of integrity is discovered.

        While specific examples of cheating may exist where it was sustained for a prolonged time, a cheater actually has no real ability to actually prevent discovery of the truth about themselves at any given moment,

      • for being unable to write a good essay about Shakespeare's "Midsummer night's dream". Real life is not like college.

        Given your capitalization, maybe you should have spent more time working on that.

        Programming is not a lone activity anymore. You write code in a way that other people will understand it. Understanding literature will help you write better code, for that reason.

      • Well, it is hard to find engineers who are halfway decent at writing documentation...

      • As an engineer, I will never be in a position of being "exposed" for being unable to write a good essay about Shakespeare's "Midsummer night's dream". Real life is not like college.

        One thing I remember about essay writing is that it was marked based on the ability to form a coherent argument and get it across simply on paper. Based on some of the engineering recommendations I have seen in my time, a lot of you should have paid more attention in college, even if you didn't think the topic at hand was relevant, the skills that you were being assessed on were.

        I just preferred to devote time to things that actually mattered, like my engineering courses.

        This attitude often gets corrected in the real world when the person is limited in their field because the things they deemed unim

      • I don't think anybody will be "exposed" but I certainly know a lot of people who can write Java code with the best of them but can't communicate in human languages with anybody. Doing their MSND homework probably would have been of great benefit to them more so than learning yet another programming language.
      • As an engineer, I will never be in a position of being "exposed" for being unable to write a good essay about Shakespeare's "Midsummer night's dream". Real life is not like college.

        You are also presuming that people cheat because they can't do the work. I think I actually could write a good essay about MSND if I cared to. I just preferred to devote time to things that actually mattered, like my engineering courses.

        Funny how you, as a student, think you're in a position to decide what things "actually matter" in your education. As a fellow engineering student, I wonder what other shortcuts you'd like to take because you, while still presumably being in the middle of your education, also think don't matter. As you work on some design, ask yourself if the person who designed your safety equipment that you'll use while inspecting some large, heavy thing that hangs over your head, for example, thought that "Mechanics of

      • If I need help editing my statement of purpose. Can I apply to sop editing services http://ask4essay.com/i-need-he... [ask4essay.com] or editing and proofreading is also illegal?
    • Essays are stupid unless you're going to write essays for a living.
      90% of all assignments in school (from kindergarten through college) are busy work at best.

      • Essays are a way of demonstrating an ability to organise your thoughts and present them in a cogent and organised fashion.

        That you missed the principle behind the examples doesn't mean that it wasn't there.

    • Counterargument: Trump.

  • I think there are some easy technical solutions that can get around this problem. Just provide students with an online platform (you could even use a git repository or something similar) where they can upload their work in progress or even edit it in real time in a Google Docs type of environment. This is probably a better system than one large, final delivery anyways as it allows for feedback and discussion. It also is more likely to get students started on time if there are milestone requirements. Cheatin
    • And you can force an always on behavioral tracking system that gathers data that can be monetized as well! They'll already be used to the mandatory automated scan systems that require you to agree to give ownership of your work to the 3rd party. This is just one more baby step.
  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @06:37PM (#56538524)

    So if it's not illegal, why remove the ads? Lots of things that are bad ideas are legal and advertised. Youtube occupies a monopoly position and they're starting to flex their muscle.

    • Why not remove the ads? It's bad publicity for Youtube. And bad publicity is usually bad business. Most sites should take care about the ads they choose, protecting their brand.

      • usually those youtube channels don't know what ads are run on their channels.. this is all still ripples from that stupidity with nazi ads and stuff from weeks ago.. time to start using mp3 converters and forget about youtube...
  • I see nothing wrong here. Quite the contrary, it's an excellent example of outsourcing and copyright.

    Better yet, I can edit key parts of it into my own voice and make it even more difficult to prove something was off. I outsource the work and receive a copyright that allows me to claim I wholeheartedly did all of the work myself. Don't come crying about academic dishonesty when the average tuition in a University is what $30k+? And yes, I know the article is about 12-year-olds using it which is hilarious. S

    • I hope I never work with you.
    • I see nothing wrong here.

      I think you do, darkly, otherwise you wouldn't be trying so hard to rationalise it. Like, this for example:

      Don't come crying about academic dishonesty when the average tuition in a University is what $30k+?

      Your argument is "there's nothing wrong with cheating and I can cheat so well they can't catch me and anyway people whould be able to cheat because it's expensive".

  • The first thing a good education successfully explains to the students is that only doing the work themselves will work. Some will get that, the others are lost to education anyways. And the way to identify the hopeless cases (who usually do not realize what they are) is to have exams where cheating is not possible. That cheating is rampart only illustrates that many educators have gotten lazy on the exams or are prevented from actually failing failed students.

    • The first thing a good education successfully explains to the students is that only doing the work themselves will work.

      Totally agree. Now try telling them that writing essay #2349267 on the same opera that's been taught for the last 200 years is meaningful, and why.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        When teachers ask questions, they don't do it to learn the answer. This may come as a surprise, but they already know more about the subject than you're going to tell them. Writing essays is like the hundredth push-up. You don't do just one to prove that you can do it, and nobody really needs you to push the floor down. If doing push-ups sounds exhausting to you, you haven't done enough push-ups. If writing an essay, which is a short text, sounds like work to you, you haven't written enough essays. But your

        • When teachers ask questions, they don't do it to learn the answer. This may come as a surprise, but they already know more about the subject than you're going to tell them.

          Agreed. Hopwever, there are smart questions and stupid questions. There are great homeworks and retarded homeworks. And there are good teachers and bad teachers.

          Writing essays is like the hundredth push-up.

          No, it's not.

          If writing an essay, which is a short text, sounds like work to you, you haven't written enough essays.

          It doesn't sound like work. It sounds terribly boring, though.
          Tell me to write a 10K words literary text on a subject of my choice in 5 days, and I will do it, gleefully.
          Tell me to write a 500-word essay on a given literary text and I will ignore it until the last moment then come up with a decently written essay and hate you for it.

  • If that's the worst thing they're being paid to sell, I'm not too worried. Sadly, there are far worse items they're paying influencers to hock.
  • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @08:24PM (#56538970)
    ...when I read that advertisers "...must not promote dishonest activity." What do they think advertisers do?
    • ...when I read that advertisers "...must not promote dishonest activity." What do they think advertisers do?

      Advertising is not always dishonest, and in fact in most countries advertising that is wrong or dishonest is actually illegal. Advertisers try and create an emotional tie between a person and a product. If you can't do it with honest facts then maybe you should find a company to work for which actually has a product worth advertising.

      • Advertising is not always dishonest, and in fact in most countries advertising that is wrong or dishonest is actually illegal. Advertisers try and create an emotional tie between a person and a product. If you can't do it with honest facts then maybe you should find a company to work for which actually has a product worth advertising.

        Technically this is probably true. However, in practice, if there's one thing that advertisers are good at, it's finding ways around laws and regulations about telling the truth. Also, thanks to so called 'light touch' regulation, i.e. no regulation, it means that they can get away with murder.

        And... maybe... politicians are reluctant to call advertisers liars, or at least misleading. You know, after all the crap they often spout themselves. Don't want to start any honesty and transparency campaigns that mi

        • However, in practice, if there's one thing that advertisers are good at, it's finding ways around laws and regulations about telling the truth.

          Not quite. The laws are often enforced quite strictly and you hear cases about them being enforced constantly. The difference is between being truthful and being morally honest. When you really carefully look into advertising you have to see the subtitles in their message. Next time something talks about being the best, pay the most attention to the words around "best" rather than the word "best" itself. It's these subtleties that make people think that something is a lie when in fact it is the truth.

          I caug

          • I studied applied linguistics and I've done exhaustive linguisitic analyses of advertising and other genres of language. And yes, while they're technically correct or just plain nonsensical, e.g. "leaves you feeling visibly younger", they still mislead, relying on people's surface reading/listening of the texts. What's important is the communicative intent of the advertisers, which is to mislead/deceive through deliberately engineered texts, and what the majority of readers/listeners understand from it, i.e

  • by Leuf ( 918654 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2018 @11:00PM (#56539600)

    The second they started taking responsibility for the content on the platform they put themselves in an unwinnable position. Moderating YouTube is completely, hopelessly impossible. It's like nuclear war, the only way to win is not to play.

    Now they are on defense against every internet investigator looking for the next thing somebody is doing on YouTube that people can get outraged about. The mainstream media sees YouTube as competition for viewers and YouTube has handed them the means to repeatedly wound them.

    They made every channel with fewer than 4000 watch hours and 1000 subscribers lose their monetization and be subjected to review whenever a channel now reaches those thresholds. The original date they were supposed to be caught up with reviewing channels was the end of April. That has now been moved to the end of June. I'm not holding my breath on that.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If they didn't take any responsibility for content beyond what is legally required, how would they make enough money to continue the service?

      I wish there was a way for them to do so, but so far no-one has found it.

      • I think the real answer to this lies in the original Yahoo! design where you have curated content and then you have uncurated search results. Youtube seems to be going this way. For Youtube kids you can now select to only let your kids watch things that have been manually reviewed. Curation is valuable but it's also expensive which is why algorithms are often preferred. But there's plenty of room for improvement.
      • by Leuf ( 918654 )
        Adwords has the ability to target specific videos or channels (the channels part doesn't seem to actually work). Advertisers have the ability to make their ads only show up where they whitelist them, if they are concerned about it. This would of course screw over the smaller channels whose videos would never get whitelisted by the big advertisers. But they are even more screwed over now because no one can advertise on them at all.
  • I have to wonder why schools don't use the FBI's tactics which they employ to catch would-be "terrorists," namely, flood the market on the Dark Web with offers for all manner of things you'd need to make a dirty bomb, or to convert your AR 15 into a full-blown machine gun, or to make a gun that fires bullets without leaving telltale marks on them, or their fragments, or that sell fertilizer and rental trucks, etc., so that when someone wants to buy some of this, they run a very good chance of trying to buy
  • As the adage goes, you only cheat yourself. Pretty sure you won't last very long in an occupation that requires proven subject knowledge, so why did you spend that money on getting a fake education? Yeah smart move.

You will never amount to much. -- Munich Schoolmaster, to Albert Einstein, age 10

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