Amazon Pays Employees To Chirp Happily On Twitter About Wonderful Working Conditions

from the disinformation-nation dept

For several years now, there have been a parade of articles examining the “churn and burn” culture at Amazon. For example a 2015 New York Times piece profiled the “bruising” culture at the company while noting that employees weeping at their desk was not an uncommon sight. And while the profile was contested by some employees at the company, a substantial number of different reports have also highlighted the poor working conditions in Amazon distribution warehouses, including employees having to pee in garbage cans for fear of missing targets by going to a proper restroom.

Hoping to correct the “public perception” of poor working conditions at the company’s warehouses, Amazon executives have crafted a new “solution” to the problem. They’ve started paying some warehouse employees to create Twitter accounts and speak positively of not only their working experiences, but CEO Jeff Bezos. Under the tags of “Amazon FC Ambassadors,” these employees are broadly encouraged to respond to any criticism of Amazon with positivity and, apparently, copious use of emojis as they proudly insist they can pee any time they’d like:

Amazon is a little bit dodgy in comments to The Guardian when it comes to admitting that these employees are being paid extra to chirp happily about their wonderful working experiences at Amazon:

“An Amazon spokesman, Ty Rogers, assured the Guardian via email that these ambassadors were real employees who work in fulfillment centers, not Twitter bots. He declined to answer questions about how the accounts were created or if employees were compensated for defending the company on social media.

?FC ambassadors are employees who understand what it?s actually like to work in our FCs,? says Rogers. ?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 FC tours we provide.”

The employees are similarly cagey about whether they’re being paid extra to speak positively about the company on Twitter:

“Asked specifically about whether they were paid extra for their Twitter service, Leo, from Jacksonville, replied: ?this is just another role that I have. Right now I?m tweeting from work.”

In other words, yes, your employer is paying you extra to say nice things about it. You’d hope that actual improvements to working conditions have accompanied Amazon’s apparent belief that this campaign of mandatory enthusiasm was a good idea.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: amazon

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Amazon Pays Employees To Chirp Happily On Twitter About Wonderful Working Conditions”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
49 Comments
Drew T Obvious says:

Re: Re: Re: One-pager Zombie "stimoceiver" crawls out after 32 months!

20 comments in bit over 5 years — half of it dormant!

These "accounts" are lightly engaged yet loyal. Never a mention let alone explanation for long gaps. Never a mention of obvious changes here, far fewer pieces and comments, because that’d point up they’ve come back to a clearly waning site. Never an "unlike others, I’m no zombie" that’d show recent reading. Never a mention forgot password, and boy the recovery was easy. Always blandly supportive of Techdirt’s view so don’t have to respond, just make a reassuring background for the few real commenters. Never acknowledgement or denial by Techdirt, but a couple ACs and suspects have tried "you’re crazy" to deflect. No one will even admit that they’re ODD! Because there’s NO OTHER EXPLANATION than astro-turfing. But draw your own concussions.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Don't ask, you don't want to go down that hole

Because they are obsessed with TD and everything involved in it, to the point that they routinely check posting history of anyone and everyone that posts a comment looking for people that aren’t as obsessed with the site as them in order to (somehow) bolster whatever paranoid delusion they’ve got kicking around.

I kinda wish I’d had an in-between account between AC and TOG honestly, just so I could occasionally post using it and have fun riling up the nutjob.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 One-pager Zombie "stimoceiver" crawls out after 32 months!

This may shock you, but normal people are capable of resetting a password without announcing it to the world.

Normal people are capable of not posting on every single post every single today because they have other interests or may only have input on certain topics.

Normal people don’t sit down and track the commenting histories of every user on the site to prop up an insane conspiracy which would accomplish nothing.

David says:

Re: Amazon prefers piss poor employees

I’ll never get voted funny if I am being that subtle. "piss poor employees" means employees that aren’t accumulating large amounts of urine. Well, a joke requiring an explanation is a bad joke. Better luck next time.

Is there some way to add a laugh track in Markdown? Oh wait, there is: 😉

How unsubtle.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'Do what we say, not what we do.'

Which would probably explain the vague non-answers in response to the ‘are you paying/getting paid to make those posts?’, question. No-one like a hypocrite and paying employees to gush about the company while cracking down on sellers that tried to similarly game their reputations/products would leave Amazon looking all kinds of bad.

If they aren’t paying the employees to make those posts, and it’s in fact entirely voluntary then they really need to make that clear, the sooner the better, as not doing has good odds of making the whole thing blow up in their face.

Fraction Tech (profile) says:

Amazon workers on Twitter

Amazon has good reason to try to clean up its online reputation. The job market is strong, making it harder to find people to work in its warehouses. Potential employees search Twitter to learn about companies, says David Lewis, CEO of human resources consultancy OperationsInc, and positive messages could “mitigate the sting or bite” of negative ones.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Amazon workers on Twitter

“The job market is strong”
– LOL – this just never gets old.

“harder to find people to work in its warehouses”
– Perhaps the working conditions, pay and lack of benefits has something to do with it.

“Potential employees search Twitter to learn about companies”
– This is how people conduct a job search? Friggin hipsters!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Amazon workers on Twitter

Calm down skippy. The OP didn’t say it will be an effective campaign. My employer is facing the tightening job market and is looking at raising starting wages because the people we’re getting aren’t working out.
Amazon, like most other businesses will try the cheapest route first.

Berenerd (profile) says:

So, I am not sure about the warehouses, I only know of some people that used to work in the corporate and IT departments in Massachusetts.
The office environment rewards throwing other people under the bus. Being super aggressive and making sure others get blamed are what causes the tears and stress. You literally need to get EVERYTHING in writing else it will be used against you in some way. Ask someone to do something you need to do your job and you have no access to it? They say yes and never do it? Not in writing? Your fault. Too much work on your desk because someone else is shirking their duty? Your fault. If someone is better at fibbing than you are or making up believable stories, you will not do well at Amazon. It is why, when I get recruiters sending me requests to apply, I send them emails explaining, in depth, as to why I will never ever apply to work at Amazon. Some day they will get the hint.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Welcome to the corporate world. In case you haven’t noticed, that describes almost every company with more than 500 employees.

That’s not just Amazon, your problem is with the fact that people are dickish.

I pretty sure people were that way well before Amazon, the internet, electricity… I am pretty sure that if two cavemen worked together on a cave, one of them would get hit in the head with a large rock just after it was finished.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

> If the guy packing my box has to wear an adult diaper
> > to make that happen, so be it!

> Don’t care what happens to others so long as you get
> what you want, eh?

Oh, look! Another humorless fuck that can’t recognize a joke when someone slaps him across the face with one.

> Hell, I bet you’d sell your own grandmother.

None left alive to sell, so much like the number of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know…

Call center worker Sargas says:

"pee in garbage cans"?

They should consider themselves lucky. Where I work they took the individual desk cans away. So now people sometimes pee in their chairs. But that started leaving stains in the chairs. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but some people (at the risk of being fired if caught) began taking photos of the chair stains and anonymously leaking them (pun intended). So management came up with a solution. They replaced the formerly light colored chairs with black ones that don’t so easily show the stains. Problem solved!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...