Where do Social Media Platforms Land on Cheating Black Market?

by | Jan 1, 2024 | News

Earlier this year, Chalkboard News highlighted how students can cheat on online classes and assignments using social media platforms and other new tools. But do social media platforms prohibit academic dishonesty?

TikTok has clarified that videos promoting academic dishonesty violate its community guidelines and will be removed. Meta, which owns Instagram, did not respond to Chalkboard’s request for comment on its policies despite the proliferation of accounts offering to complete student’s work for a fee. (Chalkboard News is published by Franklin News Foundation, publlsher of The Center Square.)

A TikTok spokesperson confirmed to Chalkboard that users offering to complete students’ coursework violates its policy prohibiting fraud and scams. The video-centric platform said it removes the content of users intending to benefit from users’ trust.

After Chalkboard’s most recent inquiry about its policies, TikTok removed more videos and users that violated them. This is the second time that TikTok has responded by suspending accounts after Chalkboard inquired about users offering to complete coursework for a fee.

One user on TikTok created a new account after her old one was suspended based on Chalkboard’s initial inquiry. TikTok removed her second account last week. (Chalkboard is not using the names of accounts in case they create new profiles and to avoid driving traffic to users offering to complete student work.)

But despite the platform’s policies and actions, videos and users promising to complete homework for a fee remain on the platform even after they were reported to TikTok under its scams and fraud guidelines.

One such user posted a video saying they have been doing other people’s homework for years, and that they can get classes done “super fast” with a B+ or higher. Students must pay first, but paying for two classes will earn them a 20% discount.

“I’ve been doing this for people for six years,” that user posted in one video. “It started when my little sister came and asked me to help her do it. After I finished it, she had told her friends and they started coming to me. Soon, my sister’s whole high school knew about me.”

That user said in the video that they charge the highest for math because they have to do the work themselves. While the user said prices are negotiable, they reminded potential customers that they need to be fair.

“If you want me to do your Edmentum classes for you, [direct message] me on TikTok or on my insta,” the user’s video said.

A number of Instagram accounts advertise services for “homework help.”

Unlike TikTok, Meta did not respond to Chalkboard’s request for clarification on its policy. The company has not indicated that accounts promoting academic dishonesty violate its policies and has taken no action to remove content offering to complete homework for a fee.

Chalkboard previously covered how former public school teacher Jeremy Noonan raised concerns at his metro Atlanta school that students could cheat on online credit recovery courses provided by a third-party courseware provider, Edmentum.

Noonan was concerned that students who could take tests at home could cheat using search engines and websites like Brainly, which display user-created answers.

Chalkboard’s previous reporting, however, revealed that students who are assigned online classes have other methods at their disposal to turn in work they did not complete using social media and other burgeoning technology, such as a subscription to AI-enabled digital cheat sheets.

Many accounts offer to complete courses on Edmentum or Edgenuity, another courseware provider. Accounts often require students to provide their login information and payment up front. Accounts will often post satisfied “reviews” to show they will complete coursework.

As Chalkboard has previously reported, even students who do actually take the online credit recovery classes are not as prepared for life after graduating high school, according to studies.

Carolyn Heinrich, a professor at Vanderbilt University who has researched how credit recovery follows students’ performance into the job market, told Chalkboard that she’s concerned that students who are already struggling are given cheaper instruction that does not prepare them for the workforce.

“You might still get hired when you have that piece of paper,” Heinrich told Chalkboard in October. “But when an employer finds out that you actually don’t have the skills they’re looking for to do the job, the penalty builds over time.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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