Ann Reardon is a food scientist and baker who runs the How to Cook That channel on YouTube. She has done a couple videos testing out the recipes and claims in viral food videos that you see on YouTube and Facebook.
Surprise! The recipes don’t work! The claims about your food are wrong!
Her videos entertaining and informative but Reardon has a bigger point to make. The platforms, through their algorithms, are promoting these “content farm” videos filled with recipes that don’t work and information that is wrong.
“Ordinary YouTube bakers are being pushed out of existence by content farms”, she says in her video about So Yummy. Some true creators have stopped posting because they can’t justify the costs of making the video when they get so little back in advertising because their videos rank lower that fake-recipe videos.
Not only that, but fake content leads to more fake content. The videos make so much money because of the views that that it tells other companies that “we should try and deceive and do fake stuff because it gets us views.”
Reardon says, “Unless the algorithm itself changes, unless Youtube and Facebook take responsibility for what they’re promoting, there’s just going to be more of this.”
What can you do? Report content farm videos (she gives instructions in the first video linked above) and seek out videos from real creators.
In this video, she takes on claims made in a viral Blossom video: Is there plastic in rice? Is there meat glue in steak? Do impure spices burn? How to tell if vitamins are synthetic? Why do cheese singles burn? Why does processed cheese burn with a flame? Does salt contain chalk? Is my food fake?
Check out some of her baking videos!
For the history buff: