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Things We Saw Today: What the Heck Is Going on With These “Amazon FC Ambassadors” on Twitter?

Amazon packages on a conveyor belt in a factory room.

Amazon fulfillment centers have been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to a recent worker strike and some in-depth reporting (like this episode of Last Week Tonight) exposing their horrible working conditions.

Amazon appears to be trying to combat this image as a soulless company forcing workers to endure grueling conditions that frequently lead to injuries they’re then allegedly discouraged from reporting and seeking care for, all to make more profits for the world’s richest man. And they’re doing so by inviting the public to schedule tours of those fulfillment centers, like the world’s worst family vacation.

Amazon also launched an “Ambassador” program, which is basically just a bunch of employees being paid to talk up the company online. That launched last year but I don’t know anyone who really took notice of it. That is, until yesterday, when one Twitter user commented on the above tweet and was suddenly inundated with ultra-positive tweets from a whole army of Ambassadors, just waiting to tell her how wrong she was and how great it is to work at Amazon.

It’s not totally clear if these are all real people or if some (or all) of them are bots, although they insist they’re real. (Which is exactly what a bot would say …)

Whether these are real people or bots trying way too hard to perform humanity, things got bleak.

As soon as Wilde would reply to one Ambassador, another would swoop in to pick up the conversation. I recommend reading through the entire thread because it is weird.

  • President Obama shared his summer reading list. (via Pajiba)
  • Oooooh, check out the trailer for Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.
  • Even Congresswomen appreciate the importance of pockets.

  • A leaked set photo shows Naomi Watts in her costume from the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel. (via Comic Book Movie)
  • Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush of the New York Times had a book deal. Thrush was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple former colleagues and the book deal fell through. Now guess which one of the two got to keep their advance and which had to pay hers back? (via BuzzFeed)

Update 8/16: Amazon asked us to include this statement from them: “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 fulfillment centers, and the FC ambassador program is a big part of that along with the FC tours we provide. This year alone, more than 100,000 guests have come to see for themselves what it’s like to work inside one of our FCs. If you haven’t visited, I recommend it.”

(image: JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.