Content farms are taking over social media as we know it. Assuming you have browsed the internet regularly–as most of this day and age do– you’ve noticed compilations of colorful and often sped up videos.. Some compilations have to do with cake decorating, some cooking and others fully outlandish “hacks.” For example, a standard pink eraser “erasing” the severe cracks on an iphone.
All of these videos are seemingly made by different channels, therefore different content creators, correct? No. Of the hundreds of channels posting this similar content, they are all run by the same few companies, one of the largest being, TheSoul Publishing.
TheSoul Publishing is the content farm that runs the famed “5 Minute Crafts.” A content farm is defined by the Oxford dictionary as a company that creates a large sum of content, typically low quality or stolen from another site, and is released frequently to ensure a large amount of traffic to its place of origin. In this case, a large number of views on the given platform.
According to an article written by Variety’s Senior Media Producer, Matt Donnelly in 2021, TheSoul Publishing controls over 100 channels on YouTube and more across other platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest are all common outlets for these companies’ content. Each month, the company collects billions of views with reused content posted across multiple platforms and channels.
Within the past decade, multiple content creators– particularly baking and cooking channels– have either reduced the amount of content they are creating or stopped posting content all together. Due to the high number of videos being posted by content farms, the algorithms of most social media platforms favor the frequent upload schedule and are more likely to recommend these channels to a consumer. This is in contrast to creators uploading less regularly but are making unique and genuine content.
As a result of the algorithm pushing content farm’s videos to more consumers, they are stealing a higher amount of consumer’s mindshare.Therefore the number of views accumulated on the channels of genuine creators are dropping.
About two years ago, Ann Reardon, the creator of YouTube channel How to Cook That and one of the people recognized for bringing more attention to the deceptive nature of the compilation “hack” videos, told her audience that she was reducing her monthly release of videos. Instead of a new video every Friday, due to the decrease of traffic to her channel, it was no longer financially viable to upload as regularly. It is now every other Friday.
Other baking creators have a similar experience to Reardon. Many, like her, are finding the decreasing amount of traffic to their content detrimental to their business. Multiple creators are decreasing the number of videos they are releasing or changing the type of content they release in an effort to increase the number of views on their platform.
Rosanna Pansino, the most subscribed to youtube baking creator that is not owned by a content farm, is a prime example. In the past, her content was all centered around her baking. Whether it was decorating cakes, trying new recipes or collaborating with other cooking creators, she was always baking. Her recent content is reaction videos to baking fails, her being challenged to eat food that is one color for 24 hours and throwing a costume party for her dog.
Some may say that this is content creators adapting to the new standard. They are changing their content to reach a greater audience because the future of social media is content farms and they are learning to compete with that.
With that being said, content farms are truly taking over social media. With their constant upload schedule encouraging social media algorithms to share their videos and repetitive content posted by many channels, they have damaged many genuine content creator’s platforms. Creators “adapting” to a social media dominated by content farms will not be enough to counteract the negative effects they have on genuine content.
In the future, I am hopeful that social media platforms will crack down on these companies abusing their platform and it will once again be the center for creativity and unique content.