YouTube stars paid to push academic fraud, report says

A screen grab shows the services that are offered by EduBirdie.


Academic cheating is now a lot easier.

EduBirdie, Ukraine-based company that gives students the opportunity to work around school assignments and buy essays online, is hawked by a number of YouTube’s big stars, with ads from the site in more than 1,400 videos on more than 250 channels, according to a BBC investigation.

“It is clearly wrong, because it is the enabling and normalizing the fraud possible at industrial scale,” Sam Gyimah, the Universities Minister of the united kingdom, told the BBC.

The videos discovered by BBC obtained a total of 700 million views.

Even though essay writing services are not illegal, if students submit work that they have paid someone else to complete, there are severe penalties.

Some of the videos allegedly show of youtube users say if you have not taken the trouble to do the work, EduBirdie has a “super-smart nerd” who will do it for you.

“It is clearly wrong, because it is the enabling and normalizing the fraud possible at industrial scale.”

– Sam Gyimah, U. K. Universities Minister

The ads are seen in a wide range of YouTube-channels, on topics such as pranks, dating, music, and fashion.


They are also included in a number of stars such as Adam Saleh, of which 4 million subscribers on his channel, and the British gamer JMX, which has more than 2 million subscribers.

However, after the BBC probe, both celebrities away from the videos with the EduBirdie ads from their YouTube channels.

According to the BBC channels with tens of thousands of subscribers can be offered hundreds of dollars for each advertising — and they are not clearly labeled as video ads.

The YouTube star will usually interrupt what they are saying to personally endorse EduBirdie with the promise that the service will provide for an A+ essay for money, reports the BBC.

Gyimah said that EduBirdie marketing was shocking and pernicious as the cheating as “a conscious choice” and he said youtube users should be involved “called” for abuse of their power as social influencers.

“I think YouTube has a great responsibility here,” he said.

However, not everyone agrees.

An English YouTuber, Alpay B, urges the viewers in one of his videos: “don’t waste time with doing your essays, let these people do it for you.”

YouTube is under fire for the ads that promote the academic fraud.



“Whether a student wants to cheat or not that is completely their choice. You can’t really blame EduBirdie or creators that work for them, because everyone has their own hustle and bustle,” he told the BBC.

EduBirdie says on its website that the essays by the writers are “100% plagiarism free.”

In practice, the BBC says, that means essays are written to order, instead of simply copied and pasted from elsewhere.

Therefore, if a student uses the service, it might be hard for anti-cheating software to detect.

The BBC bought two essays by EduBirdie, an English literature courses essay, and the other in the first year of study assignment. Both were delivered with only the names of the students filled in, but not of both received A+ grades, earning a C, and 60 percent, respectively.

A YouTube spokesman told the BBC: “YouTube creators can include paid listings as part of their content if and only if the product or service that they endorse you comply with our advertising policies. We do not allow ads for essay writing and therefore paid promotions of these services will be deleted if we discover.”

She added: “We will be working with the makers going forward, so that they better understand that in-video promotions should not encourage unfair activities.”

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for He can be reached at or on Twitter @christocarbone.

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