Kids, these YouTubers are stealing from you: Influencers and online discussions about taxes


Oliva, Mercè; Tomasena, José M.; Anglada-Pujol, Ona

Autors UPF


Articles de recerca

Títol revista

Information Communication and Society

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Estat de publicació



This article's main aim is to analyse public discourses about tax avoidance in Spain by studying the scandal stirred up by the announcement by ElRubius (the most popular YouTuber in Spain, with 40.3 million subscribers) that he was moving to Andorra to pay lower taxes. To fulfil this aim, we use thematic analysis to study the most viewed and commented videos posted on YouTube by both YouTubers and the traditional media, as well as their comments sections, to identify how taxes are defined, how YouTubers and their audiences are portrayed and what forms of identification these stories offer. Our results show that ElRubius¿ announcement sparked a polarised debate. On the one hand, traditional media framed the debate as a moral one, attacked ElRubius using a `naming and shaming¿ strategy and defended redistributive taxes as a means of financing public services and achieving wealth redistribution. On the other hand, YouTubers defended a neoliberal agenda by portraying taxes as a burden, promoting self-interest and denouncing the Spanish state as too big, inefficient and corrupt. The analysis of the comments shows how the traditional media strategy of shaming ElRubius failed, as audiences mostly identified with him and endorsed the discourse of YouTubers who defended him. Thus, although the welfare state is still very much legitimised in Spain, we can see how new hegemonies are being created and promoted in the context of social media.

Citació completa

Oliva, Mercè; Tomasena, José M.; Anglada-Pujol, Ona. Kids, these YouTubers are stealing from you: Influencers and online discussions about taxes. Information Communication and Society 2023; ( ): 1-18.

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9.4 (2021)

Índex Scimago: 1.968 (2021)

Índex HSJR

80.0 (2020)

Quartil SJR

Q1 (2018)

Àrea SJR

Communication (Q1); Library and Information Sciences (Q1) (2018)

Valoració: A