The Australian bushfires disaster has destroyed consumer confidence, according to the Roy Morgan Australian Consumer Confidence index, which dropped 1.7 per cent last week.
Economists have blamed the drop in consumer confidence on the bushfires which have been ravaging communities across Australia’s east coast for the last few months.
Furthermore, hopes for an improved economic position are the weakest they have been since 1994.
The Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index is a weekly measure of consumer mood based on around 1,000 in-person interviews conducted in people’s homes over Saturday and Sunday. The latest index shows the perception of current economic conditions was down a whopping 12.0 per cent, the lowest it’s been since the global financial crisis.
Feelings surrounding Australia’s economic future fell by 8.1 per cent over the week, despite the fact survey respondents were more position about their personal current and future finances.
Trolls spread false bushfire news across social media
In other fire news, it appears Australia’s bushfire catastrophe is being exploited across social media. Countless old photos of survivors, false claims and inaccurate fire maps are being shared across a number of platforms.
One such example is the “arson emergency” that’s been trending across Twitter.
Queensland University of Technology senior lecturer on social network analysis Dr Timothy Graham assessed 1,340 tweets (1,203 of which were unique) published by 315 accounts for bot-like characteristics
He found there is likely a “current disinformation campaign” on Twitter’s #arsonemergency hashtag. He also found a high volume of suspicious accounts posting using the #australiafire and #bushfireaustralia hashtags.
There has also been plenty of real users spreading falsehoods, misrepresenting media reports and misquoting Australian police.
Murdoch’s News Corp to donate $1m to bushfire relief
Meanwhile, the usual climate change denying Rupert Murdoch has pledged to help bushfire-ravaged communities by donating a day’s worth of News Corp Australia metro paper sales and ad revenue to fire relief appeals.
News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller announced the initiative on Tuesday, saying News Corp is dedicated to helping Australian communities impacted by the fire by “providing valuable community assistance.”
“On January 21, we will be dedicating proceeds from the sale of every News Corp Australia metro newspaper and advertisements placed in the papers on this day,” Miller said.
The proceeds will be split between the Salvation Army, the World Wildlife Fund and Rural Aid Australia.
News Corp has also made a $50,000 to the Red Cross and Salvation Army, while Foxtel (owned by News Corp AU and Telstra) donated $100,000 to the Red Cross.
Indie digital marketing agency Sparro supports affected communities
In some feel-good news, independent digital marketing agency Sparro has pledged to give $500 to each of its 45 staff members to spend when holidaying in fire-affected communities during 2020.