Amazon employees seem to be taking to Twitter in especially high numbers lately, specifically to dispute talk about how the company is an exhausting, dangerous place to work. It’s creepy. It’s a piss-poor PR strategy. Worst of all, it’s something Amazon already took heat for doing last year.
Thus we took it upon ourselves to shed light on this situation and dispel any confusion reasonable people are, rightly, experiencing while watching a trillion-dollar company repeatedly trip over its own feet.
Everything is fine, I don't think there is anything wrong with the money I make or the way I am treated at work
— Dylan - Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCDylan) August 14, 2019
Let’s first unpack the jargon. “FC” is Amazon-speak for Fulfilment Centre—the largest warehouses in the company’s logistics network, many of which clock in at around 1 million square feet. When aggrieved workers talk about not peeing in bottles because they’re unable to walk to the loo and back during their break time, these are the sorts of facilities they’re usually talking about.
“Ambassador” is another Amazon invention. It’s a title some more experienced warehouse workers take on where they help to train new hires. You know, like a manager, except you make no additional money after becoming an Ambassador. And some of those Ambassadors, according to reporting from last year, also choose to train the general public on what working at Amazon is really like.
Not out of the goodness of their hearts, of course. According to Yahoo Finance reporter Krystal Hu, these workers are given some time off from the work they love so much, as well as an Amazon gift card. In a statement to press the last time everyone wondered why an army of stilted, samey Amazon lackeys were cluttering up peoples’ mentions on Twitter, the company wrote that the most important quality for Ambassadors “is that they’ve been here long enough to honestly share the facts based on personal experience.”
Some of those personal experiences are especially grim!
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
A former Ambassador also told Hu that those who take on the title also tend to be “kiss asses.”
Whether or not Amazon has input on, or final say over, any tweets these Ambassadors send isn’t known, though in the case of @AmazonFCHannah—who has also variously claimed to also be workers named Ciera and Leo—every tweet has been sent through enterprise social media marketing service Sprinklr. (Sprinklr does not disclose its rates but estimated costs for using the service, which is aimed at large brands, place average fees at between $60,000 [£49,534] and $100,000 [£82,557] yearly.)
Actually, I (Sarah) took over for Michelle when she decided to go back to her normal position. Sorry about the confusion! #newdirectionsinlife
— Rafael - Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCRafael) February 21, 2019
Beyond the confusion caused by accounts whose handles all have an associated first name posing as employees with different names, the uptick in concerning FC Ambassador tweets seems to have also created the opportunity for parody accounts.
Lol blinking is for when we're on our many many breaks we get. Two per shift 10 min each! Their unpaid, but still a great benefit for working at a great company.
— Becky - Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCBecky) August 15, 2019
We’ve asked Amazon, among other things, to provide a list of which FC Ambassador accounts are genuine corporate propaganda. Instead, the company reiterated in a statement emailed to Gizmodo that FC Ambassadors are a “big part” of doing a “good job educating people about the actual environment inside our fulfilment centres.”
Featured image: Peter Macdiarmid (Getty)