• Logo
  • HamaraJournals

Exploring the Thin Line Between Misinformation and Facts in the Era of COVID-19 in Selected Border Counties of Kenya.

Stephen Oloo Ajwang, Enock Mac'Ouma
140

Views


Abstract

Introduction: Information seeking behavior of the affected populations during a pandemic is believed to significantly influence the way the population manages the epidemic and curb its spread. This study sought to identify and profile reliable sources of information that the residents of Migori and Homa-Bay Counties in Kenya could use to curb the spread of COVID-19 virus and enhance efficient management of risks associated with the pandemic.

Material and Methods: A survey method was used in which quantitative data was generated through administration of online questionnaires to 250 participants which were purposively selected. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20 and results presented in form of tables and graphs. A survey method was used in which quantitative data was generated through administration of online questionnaires to 250 participants which were purposively selected. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 20 and results presented in form of tables and graphs.

Results: The study found out that the top 3 frequently used sources information was television, official government press releases and social media. The study also found out that there was high correlation between the sources that were frequently used and their perceived credibility with a coefficient of R2=0.8426. English was the most preferred language for use in sharing information. Further, the respondents preferred to receive information based on how to protect self and the family.

Conclusion: To counter the spread of misinformation, the study has therefore profiled information sources and recommended that television, official government press releases and properly managed social media should be used to package and share relevant COVID-19 information to reach the target population.

References

Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak brief: COVID-19 pandemic [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 1 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://au.int/sites/default/files/documents/39162-doc-africacdc_covidbrief_25august20_en1.pdf

International Monetary Fund. World economic outlook: The great lockdown [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 1 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO

Ferretti L, Wymant C, Kendall M, Zhao L, Nurtay A, Abeler-Dörner L, et al. Quantifying SARS-CoV-2 transmission suggests epidemic control with digital contact tracing. Science. 2020; 368(6491): eabb6936. PMID: 32234805 DOI: 10.1126/science.abb6936

Burns D, Dagnall N, Holt M. Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student wellbeing at universities in the United Kingdom: A conceptual analysis. Frontiers in Education. 2020; 5: 582882.

World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 19 Aug 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Young DG, Bleakly A. Ideological health spirals: An integrated political and health communication approach to COVID-19 interventions. International Journal of Communication. 2020; 14: 3508-24.

Amref COVID-19 Africa Information Centre. Learn about Coronavirus [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 31 Aug 2020]. Available from: https://amref.org/coronavirus/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvbbL3-nE6wIVhIxRCh319ABpEAAYASAAEgIkUfD_BwE

Orso D, Federici N, Copetti R, Vetrugno L, Bove T. Infodemic and the spread of fake news in the COVID-19-era. Eur J Emerg Med. 2020; 27(5): 327-8. PMID: 32332201 DOI: 10.1097/MEJ.0000000000000713

World Health Organization. Managing the COVID-19 infodemic: Promoting healthy behaviours and mitigating the harm from misinformation and disinformation [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 5 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news/item/23-09-2020-managing-the-covid-19-infodemic-promoting-healthy-behaviours-and-mitigating-the-harm-from-misinformation-and-disinformation

Ali S. Combatting against Covid-19 & misinformation: A systematic review. Human Arenas. 2020; 2020: 1-16.

Sell TK, Hosangadi D, Trotochaud M. Misinformation and the US Ebola communication crisis: analyzing the veracity and content of social media messages related to a fear-inducing infectious disease outbreak. BMC Public Health. 2020; 20(1): 550. PMID: 32375715 DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-08697-3

Department of Global Communications. UN tackles ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and cybercrime in COVID-19 crisis [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 15 Aug 2020]. Availale from: https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/un-tackling-%E2%80%98infodemic%E2%80%99-misinformation-and-cybercrime-covid-19

Pan American Health Organization. Understanding the infodemic and misinformation in the fight against COVID-19 [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 15 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://www.paho.org/en/documents/understanding-infodemic-and-misinformation-fight-against-covid-19

Grothaus M. 45% of Twitter accounts posting COVID-19 messages are likely bots [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 5 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90508552/45-of-twitter-accounts-posting-covid-19-messages-are-likely-bots-study-says.

Bartlett A. Coronavirus in Africa: A complex reality [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 6 Aug 2020]. Available from: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/social-affairs/coronavirus-africa-complex-reality. Published on 24th April 2020

Ahinkorah BO, Ameyaw EK, Hagan JE, Seidu AA, Schack T. Rising above misinformation or fake news in Africa: Another strategy to control COVID-19 spread. Frontiers in Communication. 2020; 5: 45.

Pennycook G, McPhetres J, Zhang Y, Lu JG, Rand D. Fighting COVID-19 misinformation on social media: Experimental evidence for a scalable accuracy nudge intervention. Psychol Sci. 2020; 31(7): 770-80. PMID: 32603243 DOI: 10.1177/0956797620939054

BBC News. COVID-19 in Africa: Fighting fake news about coronavirus [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 23 Aug 2020]. Available from: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-e7e3acde-9cdf-4b53-b469-ef6e87a66411

AFP Fact Check. Fighting myths about coronavirus in Africa [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 15 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://factcheck.afp.com/fighting-myths-about-coronavirus-africa

Sadiku MNO, Shadare AE, Musa SM. Information overload: Causes and cures. Journal of Multidisciplinary Engineering Science and Technology. 2016; 3(4): 4540-2.

Hemp P. Death by information overload [Internet]. 2009 [cited: 7 Jul 2020]. Available from: https://hbr.org/2009/09/death-by-information-overload

Zarocostas J. How to fight an infodemic. Lancet. 2020; 395(10225): 676. PMID: 32113495 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30461-X

Casero-Ripolles A. Impact of COVID-19 on the media system: Communicative and democratic consequences of news consumption during the outbreak. El Professional de La Información. 2020; 29(2): e290223.

Covello VT. Risk communication: An emerging area of health communication research. Annals of the International Communication Association. 1992; 15(1): 359-73.

Janoske M, Brooke L, Ben S. Understanding risk communication best practices: A guide for emergency managers and communicators. Report to Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division, Science and Technology Directorate, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. START; 2012.

World Health Organization. General information on risk communication [Internet]. 2018 [cited: 21 Aug 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/risk-communication/background/en/

Engdahl E, Lidskog R. Risk, communication and trust: Towards an emotional understanding of trust. Public Understanding of Science. 2014;23(6): 703-717. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662512460953

Vaughan E, Tinker T. Effective health risk communication about pandemic influenza for vulnerable populations. Am J Public Health. 2009; 99(Suppl 2): S324-32. PMID: 19797744 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.162537

Glik DC. Risk communication for public health emergencies. Annu Rev Public Health. 2007; 28: 33-54. PMID: 17222081 DOI: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.28.021406.144123

Lep Z, Babnik K, Beyazoglu KH. Emotional response and self-protective behaviour within days of the COVID-19 outbreak: The promoting role of information credibility. Front Psychol. 2020; 11: 1846. PMID: 32849087 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01846

Limbu M, Wanyagi L, Ondiek B, Munsch B, Kiilu K. Kenya inter-agency rapid assessment mechanism (KIRA): A bottom-up humanitarian innovation from Africa. Procedia Engineering. 2015; 107: 59-72.

Guterres A. Infodemic of misinformation has become an enemy as that of Covid-19 and called for the promotion of facts science, hope and solidarity [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 5 Oct 2020]. Available from: https://twitter.com/antonioguterres/status/1243748397019992065?lang=en

Ghebreyesus TA. We are not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 1 Dec 2020]. Available from: https://twitter.com/WHO/status/1228683949796470784

World Health Organization. 1st WHO infodemiology conference [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 31 Aug 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2020/06/30/default-calendar/1st-who-infodemiology-conference

Singh M. WhatsApp’s new limit cuts virality of ‘Highly Forwarded’ messages by 70% [Internet]. 2020 [cited: 27 Apr 2020]. Available from: https://social.techcrunch.com/2020/04/27/whatsapps-new-limit-cuts-virality-of-highly-forwarded-messages-by-70/.

Abbey LB. What does bad information look like? Using the CRAAP test for evaluating substandard resources. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship. 2018; 88: 7.

Dhanani LY, Franz B. The role of news consumption and trust in public health leadership in shaping COVID-19 knowledge and prejudice. Front Psychol. 2020; 11: 560828. PMID: 33192827 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.560828

Moloney K. All the news that’s fit to push: The New York times company and transmedia daily news. International Journal of Communication. 2020; 14: 4683-702.

Hauer MK, Sood S. Using social media to communicate sustainable preventive measures and curtail misinformation. Frontiers in Psycology. 2020; 11: 568324.

Shalvee, Sambhav S. Role of mass media & communication during pandemic COVID-19. International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts. 2020; 8(5): 3786–90.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30699/fhi.v10i1.276

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.