Can fact-checking podcasts combat misinformation in South Africa?

Last registered on September 28, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Can fact-checking podcasts combat misinformation in South Africa?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007615
Initial registration date
April 27, 2021
Last updated
September 28, 2021, 1:05 AM EDT

Locations

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
UC Berkeley, Goldman School of Public Policy

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Harvard University, T.H. Chan School of Public Health
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Columbia University

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2020-10-23
End date
2022-01-22
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Potentially harmful misinformation runs rampant on social media across a wide set of countries. We explore how fact-checking podcasts can be used to inhibit citizens’ exposure to misinformation, increase their knowledge about COVID-19, and ultimately increase their compliance with public health policies. The intervention we study uses WhatsApp-delivered podcasts as an attention-catching method of delivering verified information to individuals who may otherwise have limited access to credible online sources. We partner with the first and largest fact-checking organization in sub-Saharan Africa, Africa Check, and randomize the delivery of variants of their programming to a recruited sample of participants in a panel survey in South Africa. The study has implications both for understanding how citizens’ exposure to misinformation can be reduced with low- cost interventions and how the correction of false information can increase citizens’ trust in public policies.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Bowles, Jeremy et al. 2021. "Can fact-checking podcasts combat misinformation in South Africa?." AEA RCT Registry. September 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7615-1.2000000000000002
Sponsors & Partners

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We explore how fact-checking pod- casts can be used to inhibit citizens’ exposure to misinformation, increase their knowledge about COVID-19, and ultimately increase their compliance with public health policies. The intervention we study uses WhatsApp-delivered podcasts as an attention-catching method of delivering verified information to individuals who may otherwise have limited access to credible online sources.
Intervention Start Date
2020-10-23
Intervention End Date
2022-01-22

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We investigate three groups of outcomes:
1. Increased knowledge of information covered by treatment delivery.
2. Perceptions of the extent of misinformation circulating online.
3. Trust in social media platforms
4. Post-sharing behavior
5. Behaviors around misinformation
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Detailed discussion included in PAP.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Study participants are randomly assigned to either control or one treatment group. The treatments are distinguished along three dimensions: (1) mode of information delivery; (2) messaging encouraging information consumption; (3) whether participants are incentivized to take up the treatment.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We block randomize batches of participants into treatment conditions once every two weeks. We block on a set of variables including demographic characteristics, social media usage, attitudes towards different media sources, and knowledge regarding pieces of misinformation.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Information included in PAP.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Information included in PAP.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Information included in PAP.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Committee for Protection of Human Subjects, UC Berkeley
IRB Approval Date
2020-08-13
IRB Approval Number
2020-07-13490
IRB Name
Human Research Protection Office, Columbia Unviersity
IRB Approval Date
2020-09-01
IRB Approval Number
IRB-AAAT2554
IRB Name
Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2020-08-06
IRB Approval Number
IRB20-1322
Analysis Plan

There are documents in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access to this information.

Request Information