‘How to Cook That’ creator, Ann Reardon is Debunking Viral YouTube Videos

Have you ever seen a video of food hacks on YouTube or Facebook? Odds are, if you are active on social media, you probably have. The videos piece together a series of hacks, then encourage users to try them out to make their lives easier. Some of the hacks are clothing-related, while others are cooking-focused. Famed content creator, Ann Reardon, has taken to debunking those food hack videos, often with hilarious results. Reardon, however, is uncovering a serious problem on YouTube, though. While goofy, the hacks shared by video producers can be dangerous.

What is Ann Reardon best known for?

Reardon, who launched her channel, How to Cook That, in 2011, is best known for creating elaborate and gravity-defying desserts. In her how-to videos, she walks viewers through the process of creating complicated desserts and invites followers to share their own creations on social media. She even has a website with recipes and step-by-step instructions to make things easier.

More recently, Reardon’s channel has taken a different turn She’s spent several videos debunking popular cooking compilations. Many of the collections are put out by 5-Minute Crafts and So Yummy. 5-minute crafts is a YouTube channel owned by TheSoul Publishing.  The compilation videos have gained serious traction on both YouTube and Facebook, but as Reardon points out, the majority of the hacks presented to viewers, at best, don’t work and, at worst, are downright dangerous.

What is wrong with 5-Minute Crafts and similar videos?

Most people who have perused social media have seen the videos. The heavily edited videos rely upon quick snippets to show viewers a variety of different hacks. The videos, which are entertaining in a weird way, have helped the channel garner a lot of attention. Currently, the channel boasts more than 67 million subscribers on YouTube, making it the ninth most popular channel on the platform, and the top How-To channel, according to Social Blade.

So, what’s the problem? As Reardon notes in most of her videos on the subject, the hacks generally don’t work. She also notes that many of the hacks, like dipping strawberries in bleach to remove the color, are dangerous, especially when the demographic viewing the videos tends to skew towards tweens and teens.

Is  YouTube pushing dangerous videos to young viewers?

Over the last few years, content creators have taken to social media to lament that the YouTube algorithm that appears to push specific channels on those using the platform, while burying channels that users subscribe to. Users have theorized that YouTube is creating contracts with content creators and promoting their content, when, in reality, the content shouldn’t be promoted. This seems to be an issue content creators have been discussing for years, although there is no substantial evidence to back up the theory.

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Over the summer of 2019, Jennelle Eliana, a digital nomad, made a serious splash on YouTube. She amassed more than a million subscribers at record speed, but many who have used the platform for years found something weird about her sudden popularity.  Users felt like Eliana’s content was pushed heavily, leading to her success. Eliana’s content, however, is neither dangerous nor inappropriate. Her vlogs consist of discussing living life in a converted van. Neither YouTube nor Eliana has ever commented on the sudden surge in subscribers. Her subscriber count has continued to grow, with over two million people subscribed to her channel, and over 62 million views.