This Week in Cheating: Targeting Students through Facebook

Greetings Protectors of Academic Integrity and Proctoring,

We are back with a brand new “This Week in Cheating”. This week we see a service that goes right after online classes and online proctoring.

Last night I was scrolling through The Facebook and came across a sponsored ad. Facebook’s sponsored ads are really quite sophisticated. As a marketer, you can target by location, age, gender, education, interest, page likes, and much more.

The sponsored ad presented before me was for a cheating website. We’ve blogged about these before and talked about them in webinars before, but this is a whole new ball game. Using Facebook targeted ads to reach students, or those affiliated with interests including education and online learning, is an egregious step to encourage and entice cheating.

Honestly, I was stunned at what I was seeing before. I frantically started taking screenshots on my phone for this blog post. But then something wonderful happened, I found the video on youtube! I’ll post that here so you can see  how they are targeting students.

The company displays a certain level of stubbornness in the face of defiance. In a Facebook comment, one person explains that this is not ethically right, the company responds by ignoring the thrust of the objection around ethics and simply stating “students do not mind paying”.

So what can you do about it?

  • As a Facebook user: nothing. Those ads will appear without your consent.
  • As a student: like the commenter said, be ethical.
  • As a faculty member: use proctoring, create unique assessments, or avoid canned programs like the ones this company targets.

That’s all for now. We’ll see you next time for another “This Week in Cheating.”