Over the past week, an army of accounts defending life in Amazon warehouses has cropped up on Twitter to spread the good word about the company. The accounts, which were originally believed by some to be bots, are paid by Amazon to serve as friendly faced representatives for the company’s occasionally controversial fulfillment centers.
So Amaz*n has set up an army of bot accounts, allegedly from workers at various fulfillment centers, whose sole purpose is to jump on tweets critical of their benevolent overlord with the same stale cant about great pay & benefits pic.twitter.com/Z7lJWUb7A0
— FLAMBOYANT SHOES GUY ???????????????????????????? (@bornwithatail_) August 23, 2018
This week Amazon started creating astroturf accounts that search & reply to tweets criticizing Amazon's working conditions, a normal & regular thing companies do. pic.twitter.com/jons5ci3NL
— regular gem (@Choplogik) August 23, 2018
The Twitter accounts — first spotted by eagle-eyed Twitter users @Choplogik and @bornwithatail_— started appearing on Twitter following a series of stories highlighting some brutal work conditions discovered within Amazon warehouses. A surprising number of employees working in the fulfillment centers receive food stamps and government aid, according to Gizmodo. Some staffers are so afraid of falling behind on their jobs that they urinate in bottles rather than go to the bathroom, The Sun reported.
While the accounts aren’t automated according to Amazon, it’s easy to understand why one would mistake them as such. They all share the same basic structure. They use the “Amazon smile” logo as their background image; have the similar biography details that include their job position, which Amazon warehouse they work at, and how many years they have been at the company; and they all include a link to the Amazon warehouse tour service. The accounts also all include “FC Ambassador” in their name.
The ambassadors appear to scour Twitter for negative comments about Amazon’s warehouses and counter the commentary with some positive spin. The accounts often highlight what they call “competitive wages” offered by Amazon, as well as benefits provided by the company. They also talk up the conditions of the warehouses in attempts to counter any narrative that suggests they are unpleasant or uncomfortable to work in.
Working conditions at my JAX2 FC are great. Temp controlled warehouse, safety is the priority and we just want to get your packages out on time.
— Leo – Amazon FC Ambassador ???? (@AmazonFCLeo) August 23, 2018
Hi! I work at an Amazon FC in WA and the working conditions are not that bad. Sure, there's going to be growing pains (especially with a new FC) but we're encouraged to call out any issues/concerns to our manager. Employee safety is a top priority in our building!
— Phil – Amazon FC Ambassador ???? (@AmazonFCPhil) August 10, 2018
Did you know that Amazon pays warehouse workers 30% more than other retailers? I feel proud to work for Amazon – they've taken good care of me. Much better than some of my previous employers.
— Shaye – Amazon FC Ambassador ???? (@AmazonFCShaye) August 21, 2018
Despite the uniform structure to the accounts and the canned responses they typically give on Twitter, Amazon told us the accounts belong to actual employees. “FC ambassadors are employees who have experience working in our fulfillment centers,” a spokesperson for the company said.
According to Amazon, the FC ambassadors have chosen to take on the role and perform the duty full-time, which includes serving as tour guides on the company’s warehouse tour service for customers. “The most important thing is that they’ve been here long enough to honestly share the facts based on personal experience. It’s important that we do a good job of educating people about the actual environment inside our fulfillment centers, and the FC ambassador program is a big part of that along with the fulfillment center tours we provide,” the spokesperson said.