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:
"Autobots, transform and roll out!" Actually, if amzn did use bots to reply to social media, would be more entertaining than me ? At the bldg I work at I dont feel mistreated. My safety/well being are a top priority for my managers. I even get to use a real bathroom when I want
— Phil – Amazon FC Ambassador ? (@AmazonFCPhil) August 23, 2018
The way Amazon treats its employees is GREAT, we work hard, have fun and are always ready to make history. We have several break rooms throughout the facilities, I get two 30 mins breaks through my shift which is great.???
— Cindi – Amazon FC Ambassador ? (@AmazonFCCindi) August 22, 2018
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.