August 16, 2019
If you visited Twitter yesterday, you'll have likely seen this tweet from a woman who ostensibly works in an Amazon fulfilment center.
I suffer from depression too, and at one point I wanted to quit Amazon. But I realized it was my fault for the problems I was dealing with, and not Amazon's. I'm allowed to talk to people, but sometimes I don't want to. Now I have some great coworkers to pass the nights with.
— Hannah – Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCHannah) August 15, 2019
Hannah's (if that is her real name) tweet reverberated around Twitter, with writers such as Libby Watson saying that they were “blown away” by “the bleakest tweet on this website.”
This got us, and lots of others for that matter, wondering whether these ‘Amazon FC Ambassadors' are actually real people. So we decided to take a look at some of the other strange tweets that the Amazon evangelists have posted.
“I AM HAPPY”
Perhaps the best place to start is with Seth. Seth apparently works at Amazon's PHL4 fulfilment center, just outside Carlisle in Philadelphia. Seth seems to be a busy man, working 60 hours a week, but also moonlighting as a soccer coach. He also manages to squeeze in time to go kayaking, hiking, and hunting.
Despite his busy life, Seth is clearly smitten with his job at Amazon.
I AM HAPPY!!! I have worked for amazon for the past 3 years and it has been the best job ive had yet!!!
— Seth – Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCSeth) July 18, 2019
His assertion that “I AM HAPPY,” however, does make us wonder whether Seth is perhaps protesting too much.
Sprinklr, Peeing in Bottles, and Faith
For the next tweet, we head from Philadelphia to Florida. Kara works at the JAX2 fulfilment center in Jacksonville. Now, we don't know everything that goes on inside JAX2 but, thanks to Kara, we know that there are, erm, adequate toilet facilities.
I'm just a girl, sitting in front of a computer, asking you to believe I don't pee in a bottle 😂
— Kara – Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCKara) September 13, 2018
This tweet, of course, references some of the horror stories uncovered by journalists about Amazon fulfilment centers. Back in 2018, British undercover reporter James Bloodworth found that as well as walking ten miles per day picking goods for dispatch, workers avoided toilet breaks for fear of repercussions.
“People just peed in bottles,” he told The Sun. “They lived in fear of being disciplined over ‘idle time' and losing their jobs just because they needed the loo.”
Perhaps the most interesting part of this tweet is that it was posted using a social media management system called Sprinklr. If you're not familiar, Sprinklr is an enterprise-level marketing platform and is seemingly used by nearly all of the Amazon ambassadors — there is definitely some level of coordination going on here.
In fact, ambassadors seem to swap accounts with no regard for continuity, as demonstrated by, erm, Computer Literacy Psyduck on Twitter.
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
— Computer Literacy Psyduck (@null_fruit) August 15, 2019
So, is ‘Hannah' actually ‘Ciera,' or vice-versa? Or what if neither of them are real people? Or, what if one is real, and the other fake? Or what if both are real but see nothing wrong with just swapping between personas? Perhaps we'll never know.
Brian D's Union-Bashing
Brian is one of the most rounded and complex characters, sorry, people, in Amazon's Twitter world. He was homeless before taking a job at the Amazon fulfilment center, he considers his $15 per hour minimum wage plenty, despite calls for a federal living wage of the same value to be introduced (Brian apparently works in JAX2 like Kara, and Florida's minimum wage is currently $8.46 per hour), and he hates unions.
I dont care to be apart of an union, they will have to show me what they can do for me. At this point I'm satisfied with work at Amazon. If that so happen to change in the future, then I wont cry, I'll just find another job and keep pushing forward.
— Brian D. – Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCBrianDJ) August 15, 2019
As we mentioned above, Brian apparently works at the same place as fellow Amazon ambassador Kara. However, the two have never seemed to interact on Twitter — odd?.
What Does Amazon Say?
Amazon gave a statement to open-source investigative journalism outift Bellingcat after the site rounded-up all the ambassador accounts.
“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 fulfilment centers, and the FC ambassador program is a big part of that along with the FC tours we provide.”
Of course, the question remains — why is Amazon even persisting with this program?
It has received nothing but bad press. It's not even clear whether the ambassadors are real or not. It seems completely tone-deaf given the current attitudes to fake profiles on social media. Either way, Brian, Kara, Seth, and the rest of the ambassadors have no sign of slowing down in the posting war about Amazon's poor employee welfare records. And, frankly, we're here for it.
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