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Amazon is paying people to tweet nice things about warehouse working conditions after horror stories of staff peeing in bottles

Isobel Asher Hamilton

Getty/Rick T. Wilking

  • A small army of Amazon employees are tweeting nice things about the working conditions in the company's warehouses.
  • The Twitter accounts have a standardized format, all bearing the Amazon smile logo as their background.
  • Amazon says these employees are called "FC Ambassadors" who have experience working in the order-fulfillment centers.
  • It follows a series of horror stories about working conditions, including workers peeing in bottles over fears that using a restroom would cause them to miss performance targets.

A small army of accounts have popped up on Twitter to tweet positive things about the working conditions at Amazon's warehouses.

TechCrunch discovered 15 accounts following a standardized format after the Twitter user Flamboyant Shoes Guy drew attention to them.

Tweet Embed:
So Amaz*n has set up an army of bot accounts, allegedly from workers at various fulfillment centers, whose sole purpose is to jump on tweets critical of their benevolent overlord with the same stale cant about great pay & benefits pic.twitter.com/Z7lJWUb7A0

TechCrunch found that all the accounts bore the Amazon smile logo as backgrounds and had identical structures to their bios and the title "FC Ambassador" in their name, followed by a cardboard-box emoji.

The accounts engage with people about the working conditions in Amazon's order-fulfillment centers, weighing in when people tweet negatively about the company.

Tweet Embed:
Hello! Amazon does pay their employees minimum wage - any less would be illegal πŸ˜€ One thing that often gets overlooked are the employee benefits that Amazon provides for all employees - Health insurance, 401K, career/financial counseling. Tweet Embed:
Did you know that Amazon pays warehouse workers 30% more than other retailers? I feel proud to work for Amazon - they've taken good care of me. Much better than some of my previous employers. Tweet Embed:
Working conditions at my JAX2 FC are great. Temp controlled warehouse, safety is the priority and we just want to get your packages out on time.

But while Flamboyant Shoes Guy thought these accounts were bots posing as Amazon workers, the company says the ambassadors are real people being paid to spread the firm's message.

"FC ambassadors are employees who have experience working in our fulfillment centers," an Amazon representative told Business Insider. "The most important thing is that they've been here long enough to honestly share the facts based on personal experience.

"It's important that we do a good job of educating people about the actual environment inside our fulfillment centers, and the FC ambassador program is a big part of that along with the fulfillment-center tours we provide."

Looking through the ambassador accounts, Business Insider found they had all joined in August. Business Insider has contacted Amazon to ask just how recently this position was created, how many ambassadors it employed, and which criteria qualified workers for the role.

Amazon has frequently come under fire this year over the working conditions in its fulfillment centers. An undercover journalist in the UK said workers "peed in bottles" over fears that walking to the bathroom would cause them to miss targets. Business Insider's Shona Ghosh heard one story of a urine smell wafting from a trash can for similar reasons, while constant surveillance and health issues at work were also highlighted.

But Amazon's new public-relations push against its warehouse image seems to have unnerved some Twitter users:

Tweet Embed:
Argh this is kinda creepy, it was a random tweet to test the speed of the new "Amazon FC Ambassador" accounts thing that have been popping up on twitter.

Isn't it kind of Orwellian to have people seaching for amazon work conditions to try and change the public opinion about it? Tweet Embed:
It reads just like excerpts from the Human Resources and safety manuals.
Person: How's your job?
Amazon FC Ambassador: It's very well lit, thanks for asking. Tweet Embed:
This is very creepy

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SEE ALSO: Peeing in trash cans, constant surveillance, and asthma attacks on the job: Amazon workers tell us their warehouse horror stories