Stories of how bad the work situation is in Amazon warehouses have been spreading on the internet for a while with workers condemning the unsafe, grueling conditions. Workers say they are overworked as they are robots. A union vote by Amazon warehouse workers was closed last week and since then many Twitter accounts of Amazon workers have been tweeting positive things about the work environment.
One account named @AmazonFCLulu posted a tweet making jokes about the story of employees being forced to relieve themselves in bottles because of lack of bathroom breaks. The tweet said, “I’m beginning to worry that there’s a problem with UTIs across the country, given how frequently many of you need a bathroom break?”. Another account @AmazonFCDarla sang praises of Amazon, bashing the Union, “Amazon is not anti-union! Unions are valuable tools at companies that don’t provide good pay and benefits like Amazon does. We simply don’t need them here”. Both of these accounts have been suspended now.
Are you seeing a pattern here? I smell a conspiracy. Most of these were fake accounts, over a month old, with auto-generated images in their profile. An Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti said that “Many of these are not Amazon FC Ambassadors – it appears they are fake accounts that violate Twitter’s terms. We’ve asked Twitter to investigate and take appropriate action”.
The Amazon FC program was discovered back in 2018 when dozens of Twitter handles with the same name patterns were praising and posting positive reviews of working at Amazon. Yesterday internal Amazon documents were published that shed some light on the FC ambassadors. Workers in the program (codenamed Veritas) had to have good attendance, good humor, and creative writing skills. They were trained to respond to negative tweets regarding work conditions.
Having fake accounts, and paying employees to tweet, sounds the same to me. Twitter said that these ambassador program accounts do not violate their policies. However, they noted that parody and fan accounts are only permitted as long as they disclose their status as such.