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Title: Motivations for Sharing Misinformation: A Comparative Study in Six Sub-Saharan African Countries
Authors: Madrid-Morales, Dani
Wasserman, Herman
Gondwe, Gregory
Ndlovu, Khulekani
Sikanku, Etse
Tully, Melissa
Umejei, Emeka
Uzuegbunam, Chikezie
Keywords: fake news
social media
information sharing
sub-Saharan Africa
focus groups
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2020
Publisher: International Journal of Communication
Series/Report no.: International Journal of Communication;15 (2021)
Abstract: In most African countries, “fake news,” politically motivated disinformation, and misinformation in the media were common occurrences before these became a preoccupation in the Global North. However, with a fast-growing population of mobile users, and the popularization of apps such as WhatsApp, misinformation has become much more pervasive across the continent. Researchers have shown that perceived exposure to false information is high in some African countries, and yet citizens often share made-up news intentionally. This article explores the motivations and contributing factors for sharing misinformation in six sub-Saharan African countries. Our analysis of 12 focus groups with university students reveals two common motivations: civic duty and fun. The sharing of political (dis)information was uneven, but common among students with high levels of self-reported political engagement. We also present an array of cues used to determine credibility, which often determines the shareability of information. Crossnational differences are also discussed.
Appears in Collections:Department of Languages

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