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QAA calls for online companies to stop essay mills in their tracks

Date: December 6 - 2018
As part of our continued efforts to tackle cheating in higher education, we've written to global online companies such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Paypal, asking them to block essay mill providers from using their services, and prevent advertising through third parties that upload content onto their platforms.

In its reporting tonight (Thursday 6 December 2018), the BBC reveals that essay mill companies make extensive use of online platforms, frequently involving direct payment for advertising services.

Essay mills put students' academic and professional careers at risk by selling essay writing services, which allow students to submit purchased work as their own. This is unethical and threatens the integrity of higher education, both in the UK and internationally. Using essay mills means students might graduate without proper training and qualifications, a risk both to employers and public safety.

Without the platforms afforded by online corporations, essay mills would find it much more difficult to operate. They will lose access to essential tools allowing them to market their services to students and process payments.

Douglas Blackstock, QAA's Chief Executive, said: 'Essay mills are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to advertise. Removing their access to online marketing will deal a significant blow to their ability to target vulnerable students.

'But this needs a long term commitment, not a quick fix. We want to see these major corporations step up and resolve to make it difficult for essay mills to encourage cheating, prey on vulnerable students and risk the reputation of higher education in the UK.

'It is a global problem, so I am also calling on our international counterparts to take similar action in their own jurisdictions. Together, we can cut off the supply of money and customers, stopping essay mills in their tracks.'

You can download copies of the letters we sent via the links below:

QAA letter to Bing on essay mill advertising (PDF, 101KB)
QAA letter to Facebook on essay mill advertising (PDF, 167KB)
QAA letter to Google on essay mill advertising (PDF, 98KB)
QAA letter to PayPal on essay mill accounts (PDF, 62KB)
QAA letter to Yahoo on essay mill advertising (PDF, 124KB)
QAA letter to YouTube on essay mill advertising (PDF, 37KB)