Do you think that if you worked in an Amazon warehouse, you’d come home from a long day at your job filling packages only to dedicate your spare hours to tweeting about how great your employer is? As a fun hobby? Because you just can’t get enough of your job? The disbelief here isn’t about whether an Amazon employee could love their job. It’s about whether they would want to do anything else with their free time. Apparently, Amazon expects us to believe their warehouse employees are just that happy. In a weird marketing tactic, the giant e-commerce company creates Amazon fake Twitter accounts for “employees” to tweet about how wonderful it is to work there. They’ve been doing this for years.
Now, votes have been cast in Alabama to decide about the fate of a union for Amazon warehouse employees there. As this is happening, there are Amazon fake accounts, claiming to be staff members, tweeting about how terrible it would be for a union to form.
While Amazon has previously acknowledged the existence of the Amazon fake accounts, called Amazon ambassador accounts, they aren’t being perfectly clear about their involvement in these accounts that are tweeting anti-union messages. They aren’t going to provide a list of their actual approved “ambassador” accounts from their paid employees. So it’s impossible to know which are the “ambassador” accounts and which aren’t. it’s also impossible to know why some other entity would be creating Amazon fake ambassador accounts on Twitter that are also “supporting” the company with these anti-union messages. What Amazon has done is simply have a spokesperson say that there are accounts tweeting fake things and that Twitter is removing them since they violate fake tweet policies. These careful statements fail to mention whether they are associated with those accounts or not.
Twitter has been removing the accounts based on their impersonation policies. Many of the anti-union tweeting accounts were created and taken down in under a week.
As weird as this is, Amazon paying their employees to tweet about how great their working conditions are is a known thing. You would think it would be a stretch of the imagination, no one would believe it, and so Amazon fake tweets wouldn’t be a thing they would pay for. But they did. In 2018, the news was talking a lot about what it was like to work in an Amazon warehouse. There were stories about employees not allowed to take bathroom breaks and peeing in bottles. To follow that up, Amazon paid their employees to tweet about how silly that was. They tweeted things like “How often do you really need to go to the bathroom?”, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that Amazon allows their employees to use one.
The Amazon ambassador accounts follow a similar format. This makes them strangely easy to spot and definitely feel like Amazon fake employee accounts. These accounts, which Amazon has acknowledged exist, typically have usernames that start with @AmazonFC and then have their first name. So @AmazonFCDarla. The Amazon “smile” logo is typically the background photo on the account. Their bios typically say their job title, mention the fulfillment centers they work at, how long they’ve worked there, and then say a couple of things they like. As in, “I work at the Alabama warehouse for Amazon and I like dogs and travel.” Then, their tweets are solely extremely upbeat messages about how much they love their jobs.
The most confusing thing about this is who exactly it is that Amazon believes they’re fooling with these strange “employee” accounts? And now, of course, who is creating those accounts and tweeting anti-union messages, if not the people in charge of the Amazon ambassadors program themselves?