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Amazon’s Online Bezos Brigade Unleashed On Twitter

August 15, 2019

By Aric Toler

On August 14, a Twitter thread that included a small army of “Amazon FC Ambassadors” went viral, bringing to light Amazon’s year-long social media brand ambassador program.

What exactly are these “Amazon FC Ambassadors”, how many of them are there, and are they actually real people?

The Amazon Research Agency

These “Amazon FC Ambassadors” all ostensibly work at Amazon Fulfillment Centers, which employ tens of thousands of workers and have faced widespread allegations of a “dehumanizing” workplace environment.

Last year, Amazon rolled out a program where employees at these fulfillment centers (warehouses) are able to also work as brand ambassadors to describe their experiences working at Amazon. A number of media outlets reported on this new program last year after the first wave of Ambassadors sent out bizarre tweets promoting Amazon’s workplace conditions.

Per the 2018 reports, these Ambassadors were given “an extra paid day off and a [$50] gift card” for their efforts in volunteering to defend Amazon from their online detractors.

How Many Ambassadors Are There?

We started looking for every real Amazon FC Ambassador account on Twitter, and have compiled our results here. If you find additional accounts, please add them as suggestions, and we’ll keep them in. Please note that there are a number of parody FC ambassador accounts that were started today (August 15th), and any account that was started in August 2019 should be considered a likely parody/fake account.

Spreadsheet of suspected / confirmed Amazon FC Ambassador accounts

We’ve found 53 Ambassador accounts so far, including 29 American accounts, five Spanish, seven German, four British, four French, two Polish, and three Italian “ambassadors.”

Our search for these accounts used the following methods and search terms:

source:sprinklr

This search term on Twitter will only bring back tweets sent from the Sprinklr platform–an enterprise marketing tool used by nearly all Amazon FC Ambassadors.

url:amzn.to

Many Amazon FC Ambassadors use this shortened link when sending URLs for Amazon Fulfillment Center Tours when replying to critical comments.

“Amazon FC Ambassador” or “Portavoce FC Amazon” or “Amazon FC Ambassadeu” or “Amazon FC Botschafter” or “Embajador Amazon FC” or “Amazon FC Ambasador”

All Amazon FC Ambassadors have one of these phrases in their display name, making it easy to sort out workers from different countries. Important to add the until:2019-08-14 operator with this search to filter out parody accounts.

until:2019-08-14

Adding this search operator to all other terms described here is important to weed out parody accounts and jokes people are making about the Amazon FC Ambassador program, which started in high volume on August 15th.

Hashtags: #amazonvestlife; #deliveringsmiles; #behindthesmiles; #proudamazonian

These hashtags were used by many Amazon FC Ambassadors accompanying their tweets

Hashtags: #bcn1; #dtm2; #bhx4; #passocorese; #ber3; #wro2

These hashtags are used by many Amazon FC Ambassadors working in European fulfillment centers, namely in Barcelona, Spain; Dortmund, Germany; Coventry, England; Passo Corese, Italy; Brieselang, Germany; and Wroclaw, Poland.

Often, it isn’t too hard to track down these brand ambassadors, as some will tweet at each other or include their names from promotional material, as Ruben helpfully provided:

Sprinklr Stations

A closer examination at the tweets from the dozens of brand ambassadors reveals a few trends — they all use Sprinklr, an enterprise marketing tool.

At the bottom of each tweet, the platform used for Twitter is displayed — for most people, this will be “Twitter for iPhone”, “TweetDeck”, “Twitter for Android”, or “Twitter Web App”. For all of the Amazon FC Ambassadors, it’s Sprinklr, showing that they are all logging into the same enterprise marketing app, certainly provided on laptops or computers at fulfillment centers participating in the ambassador program.

A tweet from a Spanish Amazon worker shows a laptop used by employees, possibly showing the Sprinklr dashboard.

Another employee’s tweet from the Coventry, England fulfillment center shows a few PCs that are also used for sending out tweets:

It’s possible that some Amazon FC Ambassador tweets are being sent out from an Amazon corporate office, but it seems more likely that the employees participating in the program are using a Sprinklr dashboard from the fulfillment centers themselves.

Zombie Ambassadors?

While many of the employees tweeting out Amazon’s praises seem to be actual people, some are either using fake identities or sending messages out from recycled or incorrect accounts. As one person noted, Amazon FC Ambassadors rotate out accounts, reanimating them with new identities:

We can also see this with Michelle/Rafael, who went from a woman named Michelle who loves gardening and cooking to a Filipino man named Rafael.

However, not every dead account is brought back to life, as seen with an old tweet showing a now-deleted @AmazonFCAgatha account.

While this account zombification is quite bizarre to see, it is likely being done in order to cut down on maintaining new accounts that require SMS and email verification. A quick survey of some of the Amazon FC Ambassador accounts shows that they all use standardized emails (fc______@amazon.com) and have actual phone numbers attached to them for SMS verification.

Conclusion

It’s hard to imagine how and why Amazon decided that such volunteer brand ambassadors would be a good idea — especially considering they almost all write the exact in the same manner and use the same hashtags and similar photos in their tweets.

While there may be different faces behind these accounts, it is hard to tell them apart, and their activities all seem to be thematically orchestrated from a corporate office. In reviewing ambassador accounts, only a few English-language participants stood out as having any personality and not using near-perfect capitalization and punctuation.

If you find any additional ambassador accounts, please add them as suggestions in our Google Sheet, or include them as a comment to this article.

 

Update:

An Amazon public relations staffer provided this statement to our general contact email address.

Aric Toler

Aric Toler started volunteering for Bellingcat in 2014 and has been on staff since 2015. He currently heads up Bellingcat's training efforts and its Eastern Europe/Eurasia research.

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17 Comments

    • John

      Re “A tweet from a Spanish Amazon worker shows a laptop used by employees, possibly showing the Sprinklr dashboard.”

      95% sure that yes, that’s Sprinklr (I use it every day in my job with <>).

      Reply
  1. John Eddy

    Re “A tweet from a Spanish Amazon worker shows a laptop used by employees, possibly showing the Sprinklr dashboard.”

    95% sure that yes, that’s Sprinklr (I use it every day in my job with ).

    (I hope moderators don’t approve the accidental reply to the first comment and just go with this top level comment)

    Reply
  2. AngryGuy

    I’ve worked at an Amazon warehouse in Birmingham, England. And I can tell you the place is terrible! Health and safety is only followed when the head-honcho is in the building, and the amount of food waste should be a crime!

    Reply
  3. Kyri

    I live for the day that Bellingcat will use Ambassadors to describe the experience of working at Bellingcat… PS Excellent read, Aric. Very revealing (I’m not an anti-Amazon bot. Really. Amazon becomes very creepy btw).

    Reply
  4. John

    Thanks for this great work and really interesting write up. I checked Sprinklr when I saw these accounts were posting using it, and lo and behold Amazon are one of the company’s front page testimonal clients. It’s beyond sinister, but gives me a little hope for working people that at least for now even hugely resourced employers like Amazon simply can’t pull this crap off in a convincing way.

    Reply
  5. Moi

    Why all that trouble for saying your are a fantastic company to work for. What do you have to prove? Or are you hiding something…. #amazon

    Reply
  6. Crassus

    Amazon takes the weirdness and creepiness to the next level. The face of corporatization.

    Reply
  7. Dan

    These big mass employers who treat their people like slaves and pay them less would have higher costs if they kept real slaves and had to house and feed them. There would be an extra cost, of course, for the flogging equipment and burials.

    Reply

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