Belief in COVID-19 Misinformation in Nigeria

Journal Article
Published on 21 August 2023

This article is forthcoming at the Journal of Politics.


Research suggests that partisanship and social media usage correlate with belief in COVID-19 misinformation, and that misinformation shapes citizens’ willingness to get vaccinated. However, this evidence comes overwhelmingly from frequent internet users in rich, Western countries. We run a panel survey early in the pandemic leveraging a pre-pandemic sample of urban middle-class Nigerians, many of whom do not use the internet. Analysis registered under our pre-analysis plan shows that opposition party support and social media usage are correlated with belief in anti-government misinformation, but not other types of COVID-19 misinformation. Surprisingly, we find no relationship between overall belief in misinformation and willingness to be vaccinated several weeks later. Partisanship and ethnicity are predictive of vaccine hesitancy, while men are both more likely to believe misinformation and more willing to be vaccinated. These findings have significant implications for understanding vaccine hesitancy in Nigeria and beyond.


Josh Goldstein

Stanford Internet Observatory

Shelby Grossman

Stanford University

Meredith Startz

Dartmouth College