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In brief: Twitter users can expect to see fewer, if any, cases of Amazon employees extolling the company’s virtues on the platform from now on. The retail giant’s campaign of paying workers to tweet about how amazing it is to work at the firm has been shuttered.
Amazon has a long-standing reputation for having an allegedly toxic workplace in which employees have reportedly been forced to urinate in bottles to meet delivery targets and staged walkouts. In response to the bad publicity, the company set up the fulfillment center ambassador scheme in 2018. It involved workers that were picked for their “great sense of humor” confronting critics, including policymakers and labor activists, on Twitter “in a polite — but blunt — way.”
These employees, who used the ‘Amazon FC Ambassador’ designation at the end of their Twitter names, were also told to tweet positive messages.
“I am a fulfillment center employee. I have so many things to be thankful for because I chose to accept a job with Amazon. Seeing how everything comes together for a customer order is spectacular, and I am in awe of the whole process,” Amazon FC Ambassador Michelle wrote in 2018.
There were also numerous tweets denying that staff had to urinate in bottles, emphasizing that they had plenty of time for bathroom breaks.
According to the Financial Times, which cites people with direct knowledge of the decision, Amazon shut down and removed all traces of the campaign at the end of last year. Sources say executives were unhappy with the poor reach and the number of spoof accounts giving false impressions some Amazon workers had gone rogue.
“Phew After a hard Day's work there's nothing like heading out through the anti-theft security gates to go to the bathroom before starting another hard day's work on my second shift. So blessed y'all! Some people don't even have one job and Lord Bezos lets me have two!” wrote one spoof account.
the Amazon FC ambassadors aren't bots, but the reality is a little weirder: their accounts are company property and get switched out monthly. here, Ciera seamlessly becomes Hannah after Ciera's month long assignment ends pic.twitter.com/Wu664Q2d1W— guy who is facing the terror (@null_fruit) August 15, 2019
A Bellingcat investigation from 2019 found at least 53 Amazon influencers active on Twitter, noting that some used fake identities or sent messages out from recycled or incorrect accounts. Someone noted that they weren’t bots, but accounts that were being rotated monthly.