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Fact-checking the Covid-19 Infodemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

Tully, M. & Singer, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-5777-9065 (2024). Fact-checking the Covid-19 Infodemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. African Journalism Studies, doi: 10.1080/23743670.2024.2308896


This study examines fact-checking of the misinformation about Covid-19 circulating in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020. It uses thematic textual analysis to understand the geographic scope, sources, and themes of hundreds of hoaxes from across Sub-Saharan Africa indexed in the #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance database. In addition, it explores a subset of debunked items from Nigeria to demonstrate efforts to go beyond traditional fact-checking to educate audiences about public health and media literacy, using strategies that are consistent with inoculation theory. Findings show that misinformation about “cures” and politics were major themes of Covid-19 falsehoods circulating in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first year of the pandemic. In addition to correcting false information, fact-checkers in Nigeria regularly provided public health and media literacy information in their fact-checks. Fact-checkers may epitomise a new type of journalistic actor well-suited to the chaotic world of social media and viral misinformation, as they offer both direct refutations of false information and tactics for audiences to engage in their own critical assessment of news and information.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published by Taylor & Francis in African Journalism Studies, available at:
Publisher Keywords: COVID-19, fact-checking, media literacy, misinformation, public health, Nigeria
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences > Journalism
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of AfricanJournalismStudiesTullySingerFactChecks124.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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