University Libraries Publications and Scholarship



When Ann Reardon started her YouTube channel How to Cook That, she likely didn’t expect to spend a bulk of her time debunking so-called “cooking hack” videos. Amateur bakers and other viewers would ask her why the so-called easy recipes from channels like So Yummy didn’t work for them. As a service. she would demonstrate the so-called “shortcuts,” explain why they didn’t work, and then show how to execute a similar recipe the right way. With her willing husband serving as the unfortunate taste-tester, the videos gained popularity followed by requests for similar content, expanding to crafting and other “lifehack” tips. This sent the couple down a rabbit hole of “content farms,” websites hocking misinformation and disinformation for easy clicks and cash and drawing views away from legitimate creators. While some of these videos only led to tasteless cakes, ruined carpets, and melted plastic, others had harmful and even deadly consequences. And these content farm channels are now expanding to celebrity gossip, history, and politics, further spreading harm. This presentation aims to demonstrate using these videos to teach evaluation and misinformation-detection in a unique way while addressing the information literacy framework, and how something as innocuous as the “Do It Yourself” movement can lead one down a path of dangerous disinformation.

Publication Date



University Libraries


information literacy, misinformation, fake news, ACRL Frameworks, YouTube, arts and crafts, cooking, baking


Communication Technology and New Media | Information Literacy | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Media