Facts and Findings

Tackling misinformation on WhatsApp in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal & South Africa

Effective strategies in a time of COVID-19

The need for reliable public health information has become more urgent than ever as the world grapples with the continuing pandemic. The spread of misinformation has the potential not only to cause widespread panic but also to endanger lives. At last count, the World Health Organisation put the pandemic’s death toll at 1.6 million across the globe out of 70 million confirmed cases.

While fact-checking organisations have tools to assess claims and rapidly debunk inaccurate assertions published in the mainstream media and via social media, WhatsApp stands out as an exception because of its end-to-end encryption. This is notable especially because WhatsApp has enormous potential for sharing information and misinformation about COVID-19.

That said, one of the key points that fact-checking organisations are grappling with is how to counter misinformation shared via WhatsApp. In particular, what are the most effective strategies to tackle health misinformation via this platform? Against this background, KAS Media Africa commissioned Africa Check and the Africa Centre for Evidence, at the University of Johannesburg, to undertake a research study to explore these issues.

This research unpacks several points and provides essential information to shape effective fact-checking strategies to help counter the impacts of COVID-19 in Africa and beyond. Some of the questions the study addresses are what is the nature of misinformation on the pandemic and how are WhatsApp users engaging with health misinformation.

Here's the link to the report: https://africacheck.org/how-to-fact-check/fact-checking-studies/






Contact Person

Christoph Plate

Christoph Plate bild

Director Media Programme Subsahara Africa

christoph.plate@kas.de +27 (11) 214 2900-101 +27 11 214 2913