Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The gross viral food videos are connected to a magician that's skilled at Facebook's algorithm

Ryan Broderick for Eater:

It is, at this point, statistically impossible to not half-recognize magician Rick Lax. He is essentially the face of Facebook’s Watch program. Launched in the U.S. in 2017, Watch was meant to be Facebook’s Netflix or YouTube competitor. 


Satire or not, the main refrain when content from Lax’s collaborators goes viral is based on some joke about how white women don’t know how to cook. It’s an undeniable part of the appeal of hate-sharing these videos. And it’s something Lax said he’s aware of.


But whether he and his creators are doing it on purpose or not, the videos Lax is sharing across his absolutely massive pages all present a very specific middle-class, suburban portrait of the world, where beautiful, young newlyweds play sexy pranks and do nice things for older people. Where construction workers, who are played by people of color, defend white women from street harassment. They’re the kind of videos that do well with Facebook’s overwhelmingly conservative user base.