Is Amazon Astroturfing the Twitter Discussion About Its Working Conditions?

business_ethics_highlights_2Amazon has worked hard to maintain the integrity of its product review system by banning incentivized reviews, so it is perhaps odd to read a story about the company paying (or incentivizing) its fulfillment center workers to tweet favorable messages about working for the company.

A quick thought: Is this just a straightforward public-relations exercise or is it deceptive because the incentives were undisclosed and had to be discovered and revealed by an outside party? >>>

LINK: Amazon is giving employees $50 gift cards to tweet nice things about the company (by Simone Stolzoff for Quartz)

There’s a new social media influence campaign trying to sway public opinion on the internet. But instead of Kremlin-linked hackers, this time, it’s Amazon warehouse workers.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the so-called “FC Ambassador Program” (FC is short for “Fulfillment Center”) to Quartz today (Aug. 26), claiming, “FC ambassadors are employees who have experience working in our fulfilment centers… The most important thing is that they’ve been here long enough to honestly share the facts based on personal experience.”

The ambassadors’ comments seem to revolve around warehouse working conditions and compensation—two topics for which the e-commerce giant has been heavily scrutinized in recent years.

The 14 ambassadors participating in the program aren’t paid for their tweets—but they do receive some minimal alternative forms of compensation. A former FC ambassador told Yahoo Finance that he received “a paid day off (that expired in 3 weeks lol) and a $50 Amazon gift card. Plus, they gave us lunch. Coldcuts and sandwich bread.”

What do you think?

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