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Google schools some YouTube stars by removing tons of essay cheating videos

The essay cheating videos were taken down after a BBC investigation found a company called EduBirdie was asking creators to promote the service.

Published onMay 7, 2018

The YouTube logo.
  • Google has removed a large number of videos from YouTube that were found to be promoting an essay cheating service.
  • A company called EduBirdie had asked a number of YouTube creators to promote the service in their videos.
  • YouTube’s policies expressly prohibit its creators from hyping up “academic aid” services.

Google is once again going after a number of YouTube creators and taking down a large number of videos in the process. This time, the clips that were removed were designed to promote a company that was offering a way for students to cheat on essays.

The removal of the videos was the result of an investigation that was posted by the BBC last week. It found that over 250 YouTube channels were running videos that promoted the services of a company called EduBirdie. The Ukranian company sells completed essays to students. However, Google’s own YouTube policies expressly prohibit creators from advertising the services of so-called “academic aids” in their videos. That includes running ads or promotions for “academic paper-writing services, providing customised/prewritten theses, dissertations” and other services.

The BBC report said that it found over 1,400 videos on YouTube with some kind of promotion or ad from EduBirdie, that had generated a collective total of over 700 million views. Some YouTube influencers as young as 12 years old were recruited by the company to promote its services, which they typically did in the middle of their normal clips. There’s no word on how much these creators were paid to promote EduBirdie.

In a statement, EduBirdie’s parent company Boosta seemed to distance itself from its own efforts to promote itself via YouTube creators, stating, “We cannot be held responsible for what social influencers say on their channels.” In a follow-up report from the BBC, it stated some YouTube creators were venting on Twitter about their videos getting removed. One channel, TwinzTV, said that 138 of its videos had been taken down.

This latest purge of videos would appear to be a pretty clear-cut case of creators who, knowingly or unknowingly, did not follow YouTube’s ad policies. Google has been making an bigger effort of late to go after content that violates the terms of its YouTube service. In January, it revealed what it called its “Intelligence Desk”, which is supposed to use a variety of sources, including user reports, Google machine learning data and more to find YouTube videos posted with inappropriate content earlier than normal. It can then decide to remove those videos or demonitize them, so the creators don’t get any ad money from their content.

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