Several Amazon ambassadors have taken to Twitter to respond to people commenting about tours of Amazon Fulfillment Center facilities. Amazon has been dealing with bad press for years regarding the conditions at some of its larger warehouses and it seems that the company is pushing to change public perception, but the response is coming off as a bit unsettling to some of the folks out there in the Twitterverse.
It all began with a tweet offering for people to come and take a tour of Amazon Fulfillment Centers. Promising to show people “the magic” behind the company’s rapid shipping, the tours are ostensibly being conducted to give people a behind-the-scenes look at how everything works. As these tours would probably be taking place while the Fulfillment Centers are open, it would also give the tour group a good look at the conditions that workers are facing.
It’s not necessarily a bad idea, but the tweet announcing the tours said that it was an opportunity for people to see what it’s “really like” inside a Fulfillment center. This prompted a response from Twitter User Diana “@rulesObeyer” Wilde who implied that the tweet was categorizing complaining Amazon warehouse workers as liars.
This first response prompted several follow-up responses from multiple Twitter accounts beginning with “@AmazonFC” and ending with a name. A half-dozen different “Amazon FC Ambassadors” responded to Ms. Wilde’s increasingly incredulous questions about the ambassador program, ultimately leading to her stating that she felt like she was “talking to the [Borg]” in exasperation.
i feel like im talking to the borg
— Diana Covid (@masshysteric) August 15, 2019
As noted in the Twitter thread, the Amazon Fulfillment Center Ambassadors were created through a corporate program. The Ambassadors point out several positive points of working at Amazon including $15–$17/hour wages, paid tuition at schools, and an “open door” policy with management that allows them to express concerns. While they state that they are not paid directly for positive tweets, it’s indicated that they are on the clock while acting as ambassadors on Twitter.
As a counterpoint, Ms. Wilde noted that none of these accounts follow anyone else and that there was a distinct lack of specifics in terms of negative experiences at Amazon.
“lol, paid corporate accounts responding with corporate talking points— might as well throw in some ad links, guys!,” she responded in a subsequent tweet. “this is all incredibly creepy, but it well illustrates what we already know: amazon could do better, but chooses not to, bc they only care about making maximum money.”
The Internet being the Internet, Ms. Wilde’s criticism of Amazon ambassadors was soon joined by several Twitter users who appended “Amazon FC Ambassador” (or some variant thereof) to their accounts and posted mocking messages in the same style with a dystopian flavor.
“I’m sorry that the FakeNews media has give,” began one such parody tweet. “The bad reputations to Amazon. My experience is great. For example the bottles I have to relieve myself in are provided and are often empty to start the day.”
Whether or not you feel that the criticisms leveled against Amazon are valid, they also have a public relations battle to contend with. Unfortunately, it seems like the Amazon ambassadors have been just a hair too overzealous.
Update: Lindsay Campbell, robotics PR manager at Amazon, has reached out with this statement about company’s FC Ambassador Program:
FC ambassadors are employees who work in our FCs and share facts based on personal experience. It’s important that we do a good job 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. This year alone, more than 100,000 guests have come to see for themselves what it’s like to work inside one of our FCs. If you haven’t visited, I recommend it.
Some of the accounts involved in this news cycle are spoof accounts; they aren’t a part of the FC Ambassador program.