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This article provides a systematic review of laws, guidelines, and best practices related to the Nordic influencer industry as of the year 2020. We highlight some nuanced differences or shortfalls across Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and give some policy recommendations to national governments and industry in order to maintain a professional Nordic standard. The article identifies a degree of social, cultural, and economic coherence in the Nordic context that allows for the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish influencer industries to be viewed as a collaborative entity. It then reviews the status of income and tax procedures, and the regulation of commercial disclosures for influencers in the Nordic region. It is hoped that this research contributes to strengthening the integrity and rigour of the Nordic influencer industry to serve as a model for other regional networks of influencers.
A Review of Formal and Informal Regulations
in the Nordic Influencer Industry
Crystal Abidin,I Kjeld Hansen,II Mathilde Hogsnes,III
Gemma Newlands,IV Mette Lykke Nielsen,V
Louise Yung Nielsen,VI & Tanja SihvonenVII
I Curtin University, Australia
II Kristiania University College, Norway, & Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
III Kristiania University College, Norway
IV University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, & BI Norwegian Business School, Norway
V Aalborg University, Denmark
VI Roskilde University, Denmark
VII University of Vaasa, Finland
This article provides a systematic review of laws, guidelines, and best practices related to
the Nordic influencer industry as of the year 2020. We highlight some nuanced dierences
or shortfalls across Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and give some policy rec-
ommendations to national governments and industry in order to maintain a professional
Nordic standard. The article identifies a degree of social, cultural, and economic coher-
ence in the Nordic context that allows for the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish
influencer industries to be viewed as a collaborative entity. It then reviews the status of
income and tax procedures, and the regulation of commercial disclosures for influencers
in the Nordic region. It is hoped that this research contributes to strengthening the integ-
rity and rigour of the Nordic influencer industry to serve as a model for other regional
networks of influencers.
Keywords: influencer industry, regulation, policy, social media, Nordic media
In April 2017, Fyre Festival, a luxury music festival to be held in the Bahamas,
was embroiled in an influencer-related scandal. Specifically, the event, organised
by Fyre Media’s CEO Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, had employed dozens
of prominent American influencers to promote tickets costing up to tens of thou-
sands of US Dollars on Instagram (Bluestone, 2017). However, it was exposed as
Abidin, C., Hansen, K., Hogsnes, M., Newlands, G., Nielsen, M. L., Nielsen, L. Y., & Sihvonen, T.
(2020). A review of formal and informal regulations in the Nordic influencer industry. Nordic Journal
of Media Studies, 2, 71–83.
Nordic Journal of
fraudulent for failing to provide already paid-for goods and services to attend-
ees, and because contracted influencers had promoted deceptive marketing and
did not disclose their paid advertising on social media (Levin, 2017). The Fyre
Festival scandal became a critical turning point in the global influencer industry
and sparked heated debates about the lack of laws and regulations governing
influencers (Higgins, 2019). Following this, several international institutions
and organisations pressed for and developed more stringent and standardised
rules around influencer advertising (Abidin, 2018: 84), including the European
Advertising Standards Alliance (2018) and the International Council for Ad Self-
Regulation (2018).
Evidently, issues around influencers’ commercial disclosure and tax declara-
tion practices are important, especially as non-disclosure and tax evasion can
lead to the loss of credibility among influencers, clients, and in the industry as a
whole (Abidin & Ots, 2016). In the wake of recent pressures to professionalise
and standardise guidelines and policies in the influencer industry worldwide, this
article is the first attempt to consolidate and posit the notion of a Nordic influ-
encer industry. The article contributes to the (slow) growing literature on Nordic
influencer cultures focusing on, for instance, Danish online celebrities and word-
of-mouth marketing (Sørensen, 2010); Swedish bloggers and their communication
practices with readers (Lövheim, 2012); the culture of Norwegian blog celebrities
(Bakke, 2017); and Finnish lifestyle vlogging and girl friendships (Reinikainen
et al., 2020). Much of the academic literature on influencers originated in stud-
ies on microcelebrity, which is a practice and status wherein users employ the
aordances of the Internet to fashion themselves into online celebrities through
self-branding techniques and by imagining their prospective online audiences as
fans (Marwick, 2013; Senft, 2008). More contemporary studies examined influ-
encers who adopt “vocational, sustained, and highly branded” (Abidin, 2018:
71) forms of microcelebrity, able to convert and carry value across their “data
streams” (Hearn & Schoenho, 2015), and who cultivate followers by narrating
their personal lives to engage with audiences and embed sponsored content in
advertorials (Abidin, 2015).
In this article, we identify a degree of social, cultural, and economic coher-
ence in the Nordic context that allows for the Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and
Swedish influencer industries to be viewed as a collaborative entity, especially as
they are collectively experiencing unprecedented growth in the sector. Drawing
from a systematic review of laws, guidelines, and best practices through publicly
available policy documents, corporate documents, industry recommendations,
and norms in the Nordic languages and English, conducted between June and
December 2019, we then posit that the Nordic influencer industry evidences some
regional benchmarks in relation to influencer income and taxes, and the regula-
tion of their commercial disclosures. In particular, we highlight some nuanced
dierences or shortfalls across the Nordic countries, in the hopes that specific
national governments and industry will be able to address these gaps, maintain a
Crystal Abidin, Kjeld Hansen, Mathilde Hogsnes, Gemma Newlands, Mette Lykke Nielsen,
Louise Yung Nielsen, & Tanja Sihvonen
professional Nordic standard, and serve as a model for other regional networks
of influencer industries.
The Nordic context
The Nordic countries appear to share some values and norms that have shaped the
region’s influencer industry. Distinctly Nordic aspects of the influencer industry in
this part of the world include institutional, systemic, and cultural norms. Personal
income and tax information are relatively transparent and accessible by the general
public, thus facilitating calls for greater economic transparency in the influencer
industry to take root and be eected swiftly. Nordic countries are also among the
top ranked countries for gender balance in the workplace and for equal pay, thus
allowing for the usually feminised influencer industry (Abidin, 2016; Duy, 2017)
to be taken seriously as a profession. Government-funded research is also paying
attention to how influencers impact young people and various social causes. Across
the Nordic countries, there are various collaborations and partnerships among
influencer agencies (e.g., Troot1), influencer networks (e.g., United Screens2), pub-
lic relations firms (e.g., PR Nordic3), and media companies that have been jointly
owned and operated, fostering a degree of regional standardisation. The small
population size and cultural homophily across Nordic countries enables us to ar-
gue for a distinct Nordic culture of influencer industry practices that are not yet as
prominent in other regional economies (i.e., the Southeast Asian influencer industry
and North American influencer industry). In this section, we aggregate some of the
key institutional, cultural, and social practices across four countries to evidence that
the influencer industry has grown to be a bona fide economy in the Nordic region.
In Denmark, the 14 largest influencer agencies doubled their financial turno-
ver between 2016 and 2018, reporting over DKK 108 million (The Agency for
Culture and Palaces, 2019). In 2016, these 14 influencer agencies had 37 full-time
employees, increasing to 76 in 2018 (Agency for Culture and Palaces, 2019).
However, a country-specific shortfall is that the Danish market has not been
systematically surveyed, and it is presumed that there are large amounts of unre-
ported economic activity and transactions (Roliggaard, 2019). In July 2019, one
of the most well-known Danish influencers shared a suicide note on Instagram,
instigating a huge debate about the ethical responsibility of influencers towards
followers and users, but focusing mainly on platforms’ responsibility (Gjerding,
2019). NGOs and researchers working with suicide, mental health, and children
have reported that such content from influencers can have a negative impact on
followers if it is not quickly removed (Roliggard et al., 2019). Subsequently, the
Minister of Children and Education encouraged influencers to follow the ethical
code of conduct of the mainstream press: to not publicise reports on suicides or
suicide attempts unless it is of interest to the public (Dalgas, 2019).
In Finland, the influencer industry has evolved from its original focus on indi-
vidual platforms such as blogs (see KKV, 2013) and YouTube to a multi-platform,
media-mix approach. According to a survey by the network of marketers in Fin-
land, Marketing Finland (Mainostajien liitto, 2018), over 72 per cent of Finnish
advertisers have tried influencer marketing. However, current regulations still
specifically govern advertising on some popular platforms (i.e., YouTube) but not
others, which surfaces the need for a common set of rules and ethical guidelines.
The popular press (e.g., Pallaste, 2017) and publications from industry (e.g., IAB
Finland, 2019) have outlined dierent types of marketing and various contexts.
There are regulatory frameworks initiated both by the industry (e.g., Ping Hel-
sinki, 2020) and public institutions (Finnish Competition and Consumer Author-
ity, 2019), promoting transparent communication about commercial cooperation
in targeted influencer marketing.
The Norwegian influencer industry has grown rapidly, becoming a significant
partner to many large companies and advertisers. The influencer and content-mar-
keting industry now takes up approximately NOK 4 billion of the NOK 20 billion
spent domestically on advertising and media marketing (ANFO, 2019). However,
the influencer industry is criticised for its lack of structure, non-transparent pricing
systems, and limited documentation of its marketing eects. Influencers, influencer
networks, advertisers, and social networks have recently adopted a more proac-
tive role, taking it upon themselves to contribute constructively to establishing
clear structures, rules, and frameworks (Drange, 2018). In Norwegian media,
influencers’ societal roles, contributions, and responsibilities have been debated
intensely. In particular, influencers are heavily criticised for encouraging beauty
pressure and body dissatisfaction among young girls (Forbrukertilsynet, 2018)
Finally, the Swedish media industry is increasingly incorporating influencer
marketing as a staple in their advertising repertoire, with the annual domestic
spending on Internet advertising taking up 12.5 per cent of the SEK 81,963
million budget in 2018 (IRM, 2018). Two surveys in 2019 found that Swedish
influencers had higher average engagement rates than their Nordic neighbours
(Relatable, 2019) and that the average minimal influencer income in Sweden is
SEK 1,500–100,000 (Tankovska, 2019). In response, Stockholm-based streaming
platform Starflow is developing an influencer-specific cryptocurrency known as
Starcoin to enable influencers to “safeguard their digital identities” (Bitcoin PR
Buzz, 2018), although little is known about the reliability and governance of these
emergent initiatives. Swedish influencers have also reportedly contributed to the
rise in veganism (Brodala, 2018), environmental sustainability (Joosse & Brydges,
2018), and fashion recycling (Köhler, 2018). But these small “wins” may distract
from the larger need to interrogate the damage of mass consumption encouraged
by influencers in the first place.
Across the board, the Nordic countries are similarly experiencing an unprec-
edented growth in influencer marketing and integrating into their advertising
repertoire. Influencers are also generating impact in a range of social issues, from
mental health to environmentalism. However, given the quick growth, each coun-
try market still has an institutional shortfall to address: Denmark and Norway
Crystal Abidin, Kjeld Hansen, Mathilde Hogsnes, Gemma Newlands, Mette Lykke Nielsen,
Louise Yung Nielsen, & Tanja Sihvonen
lack a rigorous system for accounting for commercial activity and pricing systems;
Finland and Norway need to further standardise their rules and ethics across on-
line advertising platforms and genres; and Sweden requires more understanding
of and regulatory guidance for its emergent influencer currency models. In the
next section, we examine more deeply the existing income and tax models in the
Nordic influencer industry to identify potential benchmarks for the region based
on the best practices across the country markets.
Nordic influencer income and taxes
Drawing on guidelines and regulations for income tax declarations of each coun-
try market, in this section we posit four benchmarks for the Nordic influencer
industry based on the highest standing currently available in the region.
First, the Nordic threshold for being considered a “career” influencer is the
amount of monetary income earned. Finland has a particularly good model for
working through the ambiguous dichotomy between hobbyist and career influenc-
ers. Many self-identified hobbyist influencers in Finland usually do not engage in
tax declarations. However, if the monetary compensation from their social media
activity becomes substantial, they will be classified as self-employed entrepreneurs.
At this point, Finnish influencers may opt for the freelancer-verokortti [freelancer’s
tax card], which allows some flexibility in terms of employment relationships and
earnings. They can also adapt as kevytyrittäjä [light entrepreneurs] (see Vero,
2019) through specific services like Ukko, which allows individuals to outsource
their paperwork. Similarly, the Norwegian Tax Administration deems that in-
fluencers are conducting commercial activity if it “is carried on at own expense
and risk”, “is expected to have a certain scope and duration”, and “is likely to
generate a profit” (Skatteetaten, 2019: para. 3). In Sweden, the guidelines are more
clear, with the Swedish Tax Agency announcing in April 2019 that all influencers
earning more than SEK 19,247 in 2018 must file income tax declarations (Bloomb-
erg Tax, 2019). Foreign influencers who are contracted by Swedish companies
must also pay special income taxes (Boostified, 2019). Currently, Denmark has
no income thresholds, but Danish bloggers with a yearly income of DKK 150,000
or below are not considered to be independent business owners, but freelancers,
according to a 2016 ruling (Danish Customs and Tax Administration, 2016).
Second, tax laws for Nordic influencers are still under development, but
currently require regulations and definitions to be presented in clear, non-expert
formats that are accessible to the general public. The Norwegian Tax Administra-
tion has well-defined, adjusted, and clearly presented rules and regulations for
the taxation of “blogging and social media”, which appear separately on their
website (Skatteetaten, 2019). However, there is a persistent grey zone around the
new and very young hobbyist influencers in Norway who are often unfamiliar
with the rules and regulations of taxation. For example, they might not be aware
that they have progressed in their hobbies and become professional influencers,
finding it dicult to discern whether a gift has been given privately or profession-
ally, and they might find it dicult to regard unwanted gifts as a taxable income
(Ekeberg, 2019). Likewise, Danish influencers are often described as working in a
grey area, where it can be dicult to understand tax rules (Vestergaard, 2019a).
In March 2019, the former Danish Minister for Taxation asked his ocials to
make the tax rules clearer for influencers (Vestergaard, 2019b), although as of
late 2019, this has not yet been implemented. This issue of accessibility must be
addressed by all country markets.
Third, Nordic influencers must disclose non-monetary gifts in their tax claim.
In all four Nordic countries studied, gifts or goods of value that influencers re-
ceived – whether solicited or not – must be declared as income (Skatteetaten,
2019; Danish Customs and Tax Administration, 2019). Under Danish tax law, the
basic principle is that citizens must pay taxes every time they have an “economic
advantage”, regardless of whether this is in the form of a fee, gifts, or goods
(Vestergaard, 2019a). In Sweden, even if influencers have chosen not to promote
received goods on social media, or give away products to followers, the act of
having received something must be declared as income (Boostified, 2019) unless
the goods are returned to sponsors (Bloomberg Tax, 2019).
Fourth, Nordic industry institutions are supplementing government provisions
by acting as intermediaries to publicise, formalise, and resolve income issues. Nor-
wegian professional influencers are commonly managed by specialist organisations
or networks, which consequently manage their tax returns and ensure that taxes
are paid correctly. Influencers can also claim a tax deduction on necessary items
such as Internet connections, smartphones, and photographic equipment (Skat-
teetaten, 2019). In Sweden, agencies and advertising firms brokering engagements
between influencers and brands have compiled accessible “explainers” for both
parties to understand taxation rules (e.g., Boostified, 2019). In Finland, although
it has been estimated that, as of 2019, there are only 50–100 influencers who make
a decent-to-substantial living through their social media work (Manifesto, 2019),
the total number of those who obtain some revenue from sponsorship deals, ads,
or corporate gifts is likely to be in the thousands. In the absence of any formal
industry support, influencer income is frequently discussed on Finnish job-seeking
portals (Komulainen, 2018) and in traditional journalism (Tiainen, 2019). In
Denmark, dedicated influencer agencies assist influencers with their taxes, but are
usually not contractually required to do so. Lawyers and accountants also oer
(paid) services to influencers and their commercial partners (e.g., Jacobsen, 2017).
Across the board, some Nordic countries already have the skeletal structures
in place for moderating the hobbyist-career influencer threshold, presenting tax
laws in clear language to the public, stipulating that non-monetary gifts provid-
ing economic advantage are considered income, and collaborating with willing
industry partners to communicate guidelines to influencers and clients. Alongside
improving the definitional boundaries of these regulations, we suggest that there
should also be an eective system for enforcing these rules and penalising flouters.
Crystal Abidin, Kjeld Hansen, Mathilde Hogsnes, Gemma Newlands, Mette Lykke Nielsen,
Louise Yung Nielsen, & Tanja Sihvonen
We encourage each national government to ensure that these systems are routinely
updated for clarity and to complement the vernacular activity happening on the
ground, especially in light of the spike of newer and younger influencer aspirants.
As larger numbers of teenagers and young people dabble in influencer commerce,
the distinction between hobbyist and career influencers may need to be stricter,
while communication of laws ought to be more age-accessible. We recommend
that authorities also consider that clients may disadvantage influencers by com-
pensating them with more gifts rather than monetary payments, and if such strate-
gies take place at scale, industry partners are encouraged step in to regulate the
economy and oversee the welfare of their (increasingly young) influencers as well.
Nordic regulation of influencer disclosures
While income and tax regulations may seem more stringent and consistent, the
ever-evolving and emergent social media platforms and formats make it much
more dicult to police the presentation of influencers’ advertising disclosures.
As such, here we consider the Nordic specificities around laws, guidelines, and
best practices pertaining to the disclosure of sponsored content in the influencer
industry, paying special attention to the precise formatting required of influenc-
ers’ sponsored posts.
First, Nordic influencers are required by law to mark all content with com-
mercial intent as advertisements, including “hidden” or “subliminal” advertising.
In Sweden, disclosure regulations were first released in the early-2010s (Sveriges
Annonsörer, 2015) with vernacular advertising disclosure strategies recommended
by industry organisations such as Influencers of Sweden (Hörnfeldt, 2016). But
from the late-2010s, new stricter laws were introduced across the Nordic calling
upon influencers to disclose when the content they post online has commercial
intent (e.g., Forbrukertilsynet, 2017). This regulation extends to hidden or sub-
liminal advertising where the commercial intent may not be obvious to everyday
viewers (Forbrugerombudsmanden, 2017; Kosumentverket, 2019a). Advertisers
on social media have also been tasked with meeting the guidelines for traditional
media such as television and magazines (Konsumentverket, 2019a).
Second, Nordic influencers must abide by specific presentation and aesthetic
guidelines when signposting sponsored content. In general, influencers must un-
ambiguously and clearly label their sponsored content, paying attention to large
fonts and placement in prominent positions – such as being superimposed onto
the image or video or in the beginning of textual captions – that are recognisable
by viewers (Forbrukertilsynet, 2019; Medietilsynet, 2019). For YouTube and
video content, disclosures must be placed at the start of the video (Forbrukertil-
synet, 2019; Konsumentverket, 2019a; Medietilsynet, 2019) in clear language.
It is insucient to merely verbally mention in the voiceover that the video is
sponsored, add tags, or post ambiguous abbreviations like “ad” in the captions
(Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, 2019; Konsumentverket, 2019a).
It is also insucient for influencers to use the platform’s in-app or native labelling
tool or sticker, such as Instagram’s “Paid promotion” tag or YouTube’s “Contains
sponsored content” button (Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority, 2019).
Third, a network of Nordic stakeholders – influencers, advertisers, agencies,
and ombudsmen – share the responsibility for keeping best practices in the influ-
encer industry. In addition to the consumer ombudsman, tax authorities, and ad-
vertising watchdogs cited in this article, Nordic influencers are advised by industry
to partner with advertising clients (Haugseth, 2018; Konsumentverket, 2019a) and
their agencies to comply with regulations. Some Nordic countries have specific
ombudsmen, such as the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman (Finnish Competition
and Consumer Authority, 2019), the Norwegian Consumer Authority (Haugseth,
2018), the Swedish Consumer Agency (Konsumentverket, 2019a), and the Swed-
ish Advertiser’s Committee for Public Relations (Sveriges Annonsörer, 2015). In
addition, there are also various statutes like the Norwegian Marketing Control
Act (Haugseth, 2018) and ocial guiding sheets (Konsumentverket, 2019b) pre-
pared for influencers, alongside intermediaries who can broker interpretations
and company-influencer engagements to ensure compliance.
Fourth, some influencers and companies are still skirting the Nordic regula-
tions, as current ones are not yet strictly enforced among influencers and clients.
Despite the best eorts of state boards, industry ombudsmen, and influencers
themselves, some influencers and clients still flout the rules. For instance, in Au-
gust 2019, four Danish influencers were reported to the police for using “unclear
wording” such as “ad” or “spons” instead of the Danish words “reklame” or “an-
nonce”, for tagging commercial partners without explicitly stating the commercial
activity, and for distributing content from one social media platform to another
without disclosing the commercial activity (Forbrugerombudsmanden, 2019). In
Sweden, some rule-breaking influencers have been penalised, while others have
slipped under the radar (e.g., Garson, 2019). In Norway, some advertisers have
sent out free products while closing their eyes and hoping that influencers will
promote their wares without a formal agreement (Haugseth 2018). While there
are some regulations and guidelines in place, there is not yet an eective way of
ensuring their compliance.
Given that many Nordic influencers share followers and cross-advertise for
clients in the region, we recommend the institution of a Nordic-wide system for
enforcing rules and reporting influencers and clients who flout them. It is impor-
tant to hold clients partly responsible and regulate the advertising demands they
place on influencers, in order to stop “backdoor” and “under the table” innova-
tions before they start. In the long run, these collective initiatives will raise the
overall ethical and professional standard of the Nordic influencer industry and
encourage international clients and investors to tap into this ethical and rigorous
Crystal Abidin, Kjeld Hansen, Mathilde Hogsnes, Gemma Newlands, Mette Lykke Nielsen,
Louise Yung Nielsen, & Tanja Sihvonen
Considering the global interest in regulation of influencer taxes and ad disclosures,
this article provides a review of the current rules, regulations, and best practices
promoted by governments, advertising boards, and influencer agencies in the
Nordic region, and identifies areas with shortfalls or points for improvement.
Compared to other parts of the world, these movements were perhaps more
smoothly put in place considering the shared Nordic values and norms around
income and tax transparency, gender parity in the workplace, and intra-Nordic
business collaborations. Given the culture of institutional transparency in Nordic
corporate cultures, many of the recommendations focus on formally instituting
standards of integrity among influencers and advertisers.
The current guidelines in the Nordic influencer industry model focus on clear,
legible, and accessible distinctions for several definitions: cash payments or gift
incentives; hobbyist beginnings or professional careers; appearances of advertis-
ing or intentions of advertising; and procedural understanding of regulations or
practical enactment of regulations. Apart from government laws and ombudsman
regulations, several industry entities have taken the initiative to further standard-
ise best practices in the Nordic influencer industry. Still, despite some regularity
and agreement across the Nordic statutes, guidelines, and regulations, we have
highlighted in the sections above the shortfalls specific to country markets and
the Nordic region as a whole. Having reviewed the best practices in the region,
we have also suggested that there should be an eective Nordic-wide system for
standardising regulations, enforcing rules, and penalising flouters. We recommend
that each of the Nordic governments share a stake in ensuring that their national
systems are routinely reviewed to maintain the Nordic standard of influencer
commerce, and updated to keep abreast of the fast-changing developments among
young influencers and followers in the industry.
However, we also note that to avoid over-generalising and erasing the rich
cultural specificities of the country markets under the Nordic umbrella, further
research should be attentive to the current sociocultural issues that have shaped
each market. For instance, Danish influencer agencies are concerned about the
agency of influencers as “independent media houses” (Richardt, 2019). Thus,
while they do provide information about the rules of disclosure, commerce, and
tax, they are unable to strictly enforce any rules. The most well known Finnish
influencers are under 25 – or even teenagers – with even younger followers. As
such, Finnish influencer networks have focused their energies on educational
campaigns about the spread of disinformation and manipulation on social media
(Koskinen, 2018). The Norwegian grey zones of interpretation and enforcement
have reduced the ecacy of various initiatives. In response, the Norwegian Media
Businesses’ Association and the interest organisation for Norwegian Advertisers
known as ANFO have established trust and credibility as key concepts for the
industry (Drange, 2018). In Sweden, influencer grassroots groups are keen to peer
review and peer certify each other. As such, ground-up initiatives have included
events and pedagogical workshops, member subscriptions, consultancy services,
and a kvalitetsstämpel [stamp of quality] to certify that an influencer’s channel has
been endorsed by the network (Influencers of Sweden, 2019). We hope that this
Review of the Nordic Influencer Industry will serve as a springboard for further
research into the institutional, cultural, and social lives of this blooming economy.
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Crystal Abidin, Kjeld Hansen, Mathilde Hogsnes, Gemma Newlands, Mette Lykke Nielsen,
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We would like to acknowledge The Danish Working Environment Research Fund, The
Research Council of Norway (Project Code: 275347), Handelsrådets, and the MMTC at
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Copyright: © 2020 The Author(s) and Nordicom. This is an Open Access article distributed under the
terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).
... Digital labour platforms are commercial online platforms (such as Handyhand and Freelancer), which mediate services and tasks that can be delivered either locally or remotely (Huws, 2015). In addition, social media platforms (such as YouTube and Twitch) have enabled new types of work (Nielsen et al. 2019;Abidin et al 2020). These developments in technology and new ways of organising work are transforming employment relations and the possibilities for prevention of occupational safety and health (OSH) problems among workers, particularly young workers, who are the focus of this paper, since they as a group is more prevalent on the digital platforms (Ilsøe & Madsen, 2017;Popescu et al., 2018). ...
... Another kind of paid activity that has emerged with the digital revolution is carried out by persons/influencers/gamers earning money by producing, posting, and streaming content on digital social media platforms (Abidin, 2019;Abidin et al., 2020). This includes, for instance, uploading videos onto YouTube or streaming a Counter-Strike game on Twitch (Johnson & Woodcock, 2017). ...
... Finally, there is the platform itself where the content is being published. Besides this three-sided relationship, the influencer/gamer can be affiliated with an influencer agency or club, and the influencer/ gamer can engage in commercial collaborations with companies who, for instance, pay the influencer/gamer to advertise a product (Abidin et al., 2020). In this way, the companies can be perceived as the influencer/gamers' customers. ...
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This study explores how young workers experience employment relations and responsibility for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the platform economy. The study is based on 29 qualitative interviews with young Nordic workers (age 18–30) who find work through digital labour platforms and social media platforms. The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work asserts that the placement of responsibilities for OSH in the platform economy is challenged by the unclear categorisations of employers, employees and self-employed, and that existing labour law and OSH legislation might be inapplicable. Even though most platforms position workers as self-employed, the study shows that the young workers rarely experience themselves as being self-employed and assume that the platforms take care of OSH. When operating in this grey zone, the young workers risk being left without protection and societal resources for improving their OSH. Rasmussen’s model ‘migration towards the boundary of unacceptable safety performance’ is used to discuss how work activities in platform work is driven by strong cost and effort gradients, while, the counter gradient, in terms of OSH systems, at the same time is very weak or completely absent.
... We applied our study to the fashion and beauty domain as these are influencer dominated (Trybedynamics, 2021). Our study was applied in a Scandinavian context due to a lack of studies investigating the influencer industry in the Scandinavian region (Abidin et al., 2020). ...
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This paper investigates how commercial products and services are integrated into Scandinavian TikTok influencers content practices. Based on a netnographic content analysis of 1, 390 TikTok videos posted by Scandinavian TikTok influencers, our main contribution is a descriptive overview of their commercial content practices. In our preliminary results, presented in this preprint, we identify the extent to which Scandinavian TikTok influencers videos are commercially constructed and comment on the narratives used in their commercial videos.
In tandem with the increasing role of Influencers in culture and commerce, Influencers’ advertorial disclosures have become controversial in many countries, including South Korea. In August 2020, under the accusations by tabloids and other YouTubers, several famous Influencers were embroiled in the “backdoor advertising scandal,” wherein Influencers deftly advertise products in exchange for a significant amount of money from sponsoring companies, without any notice to followers. This article focuses on two (in)famous Influencers in the scandal: fashion stylist Han Haeyoun and mukbang-YouTuber tzuyang. By situating reactions around the scandal within broader Influencer ecologies and Korean cultures, we map out tensions between various actors, and the subsequent embroilments with online hate, call-out cultures, and misogyny. Drawing on a longitudinal digital ethnography on Influencer cultures and industry in East Asia, we highlight how the myth of “hitting the jackpot” in Korea compels people to follow, worship, and debunk Influencers within networked cultures.
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Reflecting on a decade (2009–2020) of research on influencer cultures in Singapore, the Asia Pacific, and beyond, this article considers the potential of “below the radar” studies for understanding the fast evolving and growing potentials of subversive, risky, and hidden practices on social media. The article updates technology and social media scholar danah boyd’s foundational work on “networked publics” to offer the framework of “refracted publics.” While “networked publics” arose from media and communication studies of social network sites during the decade of the 2000s, focused on platforms, infrastructure, and affordances, “refracted publics” is birthed from anthropological and sociological studies of internet user cultures during the decade of the 2010s, focused on agentic and circumventive adaptations of what platforms offer them. “Refracted publics” are a product of the landscape of platform data leaks, political protests, fake news, and (most recently) COVID-19, and are creative vernacular strategies to accommodate for perpetual content saturation, hyper-competitive attention economies, gamified and datafied metric cultures, and information distrust. The key conditions (transience, discoverability, decodability, and silosociality) and dynamics (impactful audiences, weaponized contexts, and alternating publics and privates) of “refracted publics” allow cultures, communities, and contents to avoid being registered on a radar, register in misplaced pockets while appearing on the radar, or register on the radar but parsed as something else altogether. They are the strategies of private groups, locked platforms, or ephemeral contents that will continue to thrive alongside the internet for decades to come.
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This chapter discusses the emerging practices of social media Influencers. In focus are six influential Instagram Influencers who were ‘exposed’ for involving themselves in campaigns aiming to discredit telecommunications providers in Singapore. In the absence of enforced legal boundaries and industry norms regarding advertising formats and advertising ethics, brand scandals are frequent, causing concern among regulators, brand managers, and platform owners. When starting to accommodate commercial brands and contents in social media posts, Influencers are constantly at risk of breaching their contract of trust with their followers. The case study shows how Influencers, followers, and eventually also the brand clients, are sensitive to what they experience as deceptive and unethical behaviours that will put normative pressures onto the Influencers to conform to certain ethical standards
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Taking seriously the global trend of selfies becoming marketable and entangled in ecologies of commerce, this article looks at Influencers who have emerged as (semi-)professional selfie-producers and for whom taking selfies is a purposively commercial, thoughtful, and subversive endeavor. Based on in-depth ethnographic fieldwork and grounded theory analysis, I examine Influencers’ engagements with selfies on Instagram and their appropriations of selfies as salable objects, as tacit labor, and as an expression of contrived authenticity and reflexivity. Through these practices, Influencers achieve “subversive frivolity,” which I define as the under-visibilized and under-estimated generative power of an object or practice arising from its (populist) discursive framing as marginal, inconsequential, and unproductive.
This study examines the moderating role of audience comments in influencer marketing. A YouTube vlog entry by a social media influencer featuring the endorsement of a brand was studied, and an experimental design featuring two conditions related to audience comments was created. The results indicate that a parasocial relationship with the influencer builds the perceived credibility of the influencer, while comments by other audience members moderate the effect. Influencer credibility positively affects brand trust and purchase intention. The findings enhance the understanding of the role of an active audience in influencer marketing.
The rise of social media radically broadens the sources and platforms used for environmental communication. Especially personal green blogs are worthy of study as they are spaces of everyday cultural politics through which people make sense of sustainability issues, and because they entail a radical break from conventional media in terms of legitimacy, form, and content of environmental communication processes. This paper studies the representation of sustainability on personal green blogs, and the communication processes through which these representations are constructed. It does so through a qualitative study of Swedish-language blogs. We study three blogs in-depth: a living experiment blog on sustainable food practices; a lifestyle blog centered around green family life; and a blog about consuming green beauty products. The analysis shows that all three blogs translate the complex landscape of sustainability to individual everyday practices. Yet, what these sustainability practices entail differs considerably between the blogs, ranging from a-political and doable lifestyle choices to an onset to radical redefining of consumption. Also, the communication processes on the blogs differ in quality and quantity. The paper uses these insights to reflect on the debates about how environmental communication is shaped by blogging and social media practices.
While several critics have analyzed the rise of the ?micro-celebrity? in the online era, few have worked to historicize the developments. Assessments of ?micro-celebrity? also tend to ignore the central role played by celebrity/brand measurement mechanisms, in and through which celebrity value is identified and determined. This chapter attempts to fill these gaps by providing a historical sketch of expressions of celebrity value in the twentieth century: as product, industry, property, endorser and brand. It traces these processes as they appear in the phenomenon of the reality television participant in the 1990s and 2000s and the internet micro-celebrity, specifically the social media influencer (SMI), in the twenty-first century. The chapter then focuses on contemporary ?influence? measurement metrics. Finally, it critically assesses how and in what ways celebrity value may have changed, and who really benefits from the dispersal of the logics of celebrity value-production in the age of social media.
This book is a critical and ethnographic study of camgirls: women who broadcast themselves over the web for the general public while trying to cultivate a measure of celebrity in the process. The books over-arching question is, What does it mean for feminists to speak about the personal as political in a networked society that encourages women to represent through confession, celebrity, and sexual display, but punishes too much visibility with conservative censure and backlash? The narrative follows that of the camgirl phenomenon, beginning with the earliest experiments in personal homecamming and ending with the newest forms of identity and community being articulated through social networking sites like Live Journal, YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. It is grounded in interviews, performance analysis of events transpiring between camgirls and their viewers, and the authors own experiences as an ersatz camgirl while conducting the research. Published (author's copy) Peer Reviewed
Social media technologies such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook promised a new participatory online culture. Yet, technology insider Alice Marwick contends in this insightful book, "Web 2.0" only encouraged a preoccupation with status and attention. Her original research-which includes conversations with entrepreneurs, Internet celebrities, and Silicon Valley journalists-explores the culture and ideology of San Francisco's tech community in the period between the dot com boom and the App store, when the city was the world's center of social media development.Marwick argues that early revolutionary goals have failed to materialize: while many continue to view social media as democratic, these technologies instead turn users into marketers and self-promoters, and leave technology companies poised to violate privacy and to prioritize profits over participation. Marwick analyzes status-building techniques-such as self-branding, micro-celebrity, and life-streaming-to show that Web 2.0 did not provide a cultural revolution, but only furthered inequality and einforced traditional social stratification, demarcated by race, class, and gender.
The popularity of personal blogs has instigated a debate on how to define the type of communication taking place between the authors and readers of these blogs. Can it be considered as a dialogic form of communication, or should it rather be characterized as a form of communication with more self-centered aims and potentially commodifying implications? This article analyzes the case of top-ranked personal blogs written by young Swedish women in the year 2009. The popularity and commercial aspects of these blogs make them an interesting case through which to explore a presumed shift from what will be termed “empathic” to “phatic” communication in personal blogs. The article analyzes comments to postings in the blogs and ways in which the bloggers handle these comments and, using the theory of emotion work (Hochschild 1979, 2003), shows how young female top-bloggers negotiate between different communicative forms and purposes in their interaction with readers. In conclusion, the article argues that this communication should be seen as a form of dialogue confirming, but also re-constructing shared values and relations between young female bloggers and their readers.
Communicative ♥ intimacies: Influencers and perceived interconnectedness
  • C Abidin
Abidin, C. (2015). Communicative ♥ intimacies: Influencers and perceived interconnectedness. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology, 8.