Twitter swamped with fake Amazon workers defending the company

midian182

Posts: 6,916   +62
Staff member
In brief: A surge of fake Twitter accounts claiming to be Amazon employees has flooded the microblogging site with anti-union sentiment and praise for the company's working conditions. The deluge of tweets arrives just as votes are being tallied at the company's Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse that will decide if its workers unionize.

Twitter has suspended many of these accounts, most of which were created in the last few days. They use handles that begin with "AmazonFC," followed by a first name and a warehouse designation.

"What bothers me most about unions is there's no ability to opt out of dues," @AmazonFCDarla tweeted, even though Alabama state law prohibits this. "Amazon takes great care of me," she added.

The BBC highlights another account that wrote, "Unions are good for some companies, but I don't want to have to shell out hundreds a month just for lawyers!" It later changed its profile picture after being exposed as a fake.

The format of these fake accounts' handles is also used by Amazon's ambassadors. In 2018, the company started the ambassador program, which involves employees sharing positive experiences of working at the firm on social media—you're unlikely to see them mention urinating in bottles.

Without revealing specific numbers, Amazon confirmed "many" of the accounts don't belong to its employees. "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," said an Amazon spokesperson.

Twitter told the BBC that Amazon ambassadors are subject to the site's rules on spam and platform manipulation. It added that any non-parody accounts impersonating or falsely claiming to be affiliated with a company can be temporarily suspended or removed; parody accounts must include disclaimers in their bios.

Amazon found itself in the middle of another PR disaster last week after claiming its workers don't urinate in bottles and that it was a "progressive workplace."

Image credit: Sheila Fitzgerald

Permalink to story.

 

eforce

Posts: 230   +262
Or...you could get together with your co-workers and form a group to negotiate together because the company has all the power if you negotiate individually but together you can get a better deal, call it a “union of workers” if you will.
As long as the state doesn't back the union with special privileges then that's perfectly fine.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 231   +258
As long as the state doesn't back the union with special privileges then that's perfectly fine.
What do you mean? Like protection to stop a company firing or demoting someone for being in a union?

My understanding is the US has little protection for workers and little support in legislation for unions? I’m not an american so I’m not sure, but I know some of the laws like “fire without a valid reason or compensation” sound crazy to me.
 

eforce

Posts: 230   +262
What do you mean? Like protection to stop a company firing or demoting someone for being in a union?

My understanding is the US has little protection for workers and little support in legislation for unions? I’m not an american so I’m not sure, but I know some of the laws like “fire without a valid reason or compensation” sound crazy to me.

I am not sure on the particular laws per country but most Western countries restrict employers ability to hire/fire and in some cases an employer cannot refuse the creation of a union.

Imo the state should not be interfering in parties voluntarily making or ceasing contracts with each other.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 231   +258
I am not sure on the particular laws per country but most Western countries restrict employers ability to hire/fire and in some cases an employer cannot refuse the creation of a union.

Imo the state should not be interfering in parties voluntarily making or ceasing contracts with each other.
In Australia we have a government appointed arbitration/ oversight body responsible for ensuring unfair employment contracts etc are amended without going through the courts, I think the government has a role to set the boundaries of how employment contracts work and what is ok and what is not.

I was referring to something called “at will employment” in some US states that allows an employee to be fired without cause and without any form of redundancy payment. By contrast in Australia for instance the last time my job was no longer required I was made redundant and paid over 10 weeks pay as a severance.
 

eforce

Posts: 230   +262
In Australia we have a government appointed arbitration/ oversight body responsible for ensuring unfair employment contracts etc are amended without going through the courts, I think the government has a role to set the boundaries of how employment contracts work and what is ok and what is not.

I was referring to something called “at will employment” in some US states that allows an employee to be fired without cause and without any form of redundancy payment. By contrast in Australia for instance the last time my job was no longer required I was made redundant and paid over 10 weeks pay as a severance.
The state should only be involved if a party to a contract wishes to challenge it in court because the other party has not fulfilled their obligations under it.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 231   +258
Why do you disagree?
Basically I believe the government should set out requirements and standards for employment contracts, making certain arrangements invalid and certain arrangements mandatory. This would be things like what are full time hours, when a casual employee becomes entitled to automatic permanent status based on service status, when a contractor can claim benefits for actually being treated as an employee, minimum redundancy payments based on years of work, limits on non-compete clauses, minimum leave entitlements, minimum notice periods etc etc. I also think a tribunal specifically to resolve workplace disputes without legal costs (outside the court system) all works together to ensure employees (the majority of citizens) are protected from their imbalanced bargaining power with employers. I also think specific legislation supporting unions and their negotiated conditions (enterprise bargaining arrangements) help to ensure a balance of power between employees and employers.
 

eforce

Posts: 230   +262
Basically I believe the government should set out requirements and standards for employment contracts, making certain arrangements invalid and certain arrangements mandatory. This would be things like what are full time hours, when a casual employee becomes entitled to automatic permanent status based on service status, when a contractor can claim benefits for actually being treated as an employee, minimum redundancy payments based on years of work, limits on non-compete clauses, minimum leave entitlements, minimum notice periods etc etc. I also think a tribunal specifically to resolve workplace disputes without legal costs (outside the court system) all works together to ensure employees (the majority of citizens) are protected from their imbalanced bargaining power with employers. I also think specific legislation supporting unions and their negotiated conditions (enterprise bargaining arrangements) help to ensure a balance of power between employees and employers.
Making laws to favour one side over the other in the economy doesn't change the underlying reality, an example being full time hours, those employees it's aimed at helping often end up having their hours capped so they don't fall into that category, I've personally experienced that myself, in one week I got to 35 hours in part time job (usually 8 hours a week) and I was told I couldn't have any more overtime that week or I'd been classed as full time which then means they'd have to pay me more by law (which they couldn't afford).

All of those other things you mentioned aren't free either and have their respective downsides for the market (making things more expensive) and leading to more unployment.

I highly recommend listening to Thomas Sowells Basic Economics audio book (free on youtube), he covers a lot of these scenarios and can explain it better than me.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 231   +258
Making laws to favour one side over the other in the economy doesn't change the underlying reality, an example being full time hours, those employees it's aimed at helping often end up having their hours capped so they don't fall into that category, I've personally experienced that myself, in one week I got to 35 hours in part time job (usually 8 hours a week) and I was told I couldn't have any more overtime that week or I'd been classed as full time which then means they'd have to pay me more by law (which they couldn't afford).

All of those other things you mentioned aren't free either and have their respective downsides for the market (making things more expensive) and leading to more unployment.

I highly recommend listening to Thomas Sowells Basic Economics audio book (free on youtube), he covers a lot of these scenarios and can explain it better than me.
Governments change the balance and behaviour of participants in markets all the time. In your example the company is clearly responding to government regulation.

Regulation needs to ensure there is no easy way to game it, so for example benefits should be the same for part time and full time, casual and permanent employees, but adjusted based on hours worked (e.g. if you get 20 days paid leave for fulltime 36hr weeks, you should get 10 days leave for averaging 18hr weeks part time). Just pro-rata all the benefits so that permanent and casual, part and full-time workers all get benefits ay the same rate and everyone should still be getting the same minimum hourly wage standard.

If a company “can’t afford” someone to do a job, it either raises prices or changes how it offers the service or doesn’t offer an unprofitable service.

The government should provide sufficient unemployment benefits to ensure those not employed are safe, housed and fed and assist with retraining to help them find new work, we do not need to remove minimum wages and have people working for next to nothing for companies just to barely survive. There is nothing wrong with prices being high enough to pay people decent wages and it will tend to drive automation and efficiency improvements which improves productivity overall.

Again, I’m sure we don’t agree, but that is fine. Our perspectives are also probably different because we might have grown up in different places (I’m Australian).
 

eforce

Posts: 230   +262
Governments change the balance and behaviour of participants in markets all the time. In your example the company is clearly responding to government regulation.

Regulation needs to ensure there is no easy way to game it, so for example benefits should be the same for part time and full time, casual and permanent employees, but adjusted based on hours worked (e.g. if you get 20 days paid leave for fulltime 36hr weeks, you should get 10 days leave for averaging 18hr weeks part time). Just pro-rata all the benefits so that permanent and casual, part and full-time workers all get benefits ay the same rate and everyone should still be getting the same minimum hourly wage standard.

If a company “can’t afford” someone to do a job, it either raises prices or changes how it offers the service or doesn’t offer an unprofitable service.

The government should provide sufficient unemployment benefits to ensure those not employed are safe, housed and fed and assist with retraining to help them find new work, we do not need to remove minimum wages and have people working for next to nothing for companies just to barely survive. There is nothing wrong with prices being high enough to pay people decent wages and it will tend to drive automation and efficiency improvements which improves productivity overall.

Again, I’m sure we don’t agree, but that is fine. Our perspectives are also probably different because we might have grown up in different places (I’m Australian).
If you apply the same rules to both full and part time the disadvantages will be spread over both instead.

Raising prices and/or reducing service hurts consumers and makes companies less competitive.

Those unemployment benefits are paid for by stealing from (taxing) other people.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 231   +258
If you apply the same rules to both full and part time the disadvantages will be spread over both instead.

Raising prices and/or reducing service hurts consumers and makes companies less competitive.

Those unemployment benefits are paid for by stealing from (taxing) other people.
Yeah, we do not agree on much at all :)

Part of our productive work benefits ourselves and part of it benefits the society we live in, the more we produce the more we can afford to contribute to our society. It is not theft, it is the way we reallocate resources across our society to build and create shared benefits and maintain a minimum standard of healthy living for all people.
 
Last edited: