Amazon should be subject to the same disclosure requirement, which would negate the value of the tweets, which may remove the need for their employees to be put into this position.
> The FTC’s Endorsement Guides provide that if there is a “material connection” between an endorser and an advertiser – in other words, a connection that might affect the weight or credibility that consumers give the endorsement – that connection should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed, unless it is already clear from the context of the communication. A material connection could be a business or family relationship, monetary payment, or the gift of a free product. Importantly, the Endorsement Guides apply to both marketers and endorsers ... consumers viewing Instagram posts on mobile devices typically see only the first three lines of a longer post unless they click “more,” which many may not do. The staff’s letters informed recipients that when making endorsements on Instagram, they should disclose any material connection above the “more” button.
If it were obvious, this story and reaction would not exist.
Yea, the press would never knowingly publish an inflammatory article without due cause.
How much more obvious can it get than "[Name of the Company] Ambassador"? Sure, "Amazon Shill" would have been more colloquial, but I think it is hard to make the argument that Amazon is hiding that they pay these people. As much as BI is trying to spin this as something they've "uncovered," I think the story is pretty straightforward. When BI asked Amazon about it, they immediately confirmed what was already obvious: that they pay these people.
You're right, the media would never try and drum up outrage based on spurious facts that can be debunked with 2 minutes of research.
That gives more legitimacy to their paid for BS for those reading it, not less.
("If the very people who work at Amazon say it's good working conditions, then it must be good")
"Tweet: Hello! Amazon does pay their employees minimum wage - any less would be illegal One thing that often gets overlooked are the employee benefits that Amazon provides for all employees - Health insurance, 401K, career/financial counseling.
Amazon pays minimum wage is a factual statement. Minimum wage is not a good wage for the job but its still factual. You either offer them health insurance, 401K, counseling or you dont. I would say that's also a factual statement. Whether or not you agree with it is your decision but actually having transparent facts is refreshing these days."
They can speak of "employee benefits that Amazon provides for all employees" because "all employees" only includes a tiny part of their warehouse workers -- those that are actually employees.
"Technically, Amazon does not hire the workers in its warehouses. Instead, temporary staffing agencies with names like Integrity Staffing Solutions handle the process of interviewing and hiring workers in Amazon's distribution centers. This is a method by which Amazon insulates itself from issues involving unemployment insurance and worker compensation; officially, the temps don't work for Amazon, they work for the temp agency."
Among tons of other hellish practices (like micro-measuring their position with GPS trackers, forbidding bathroom breaks, arbitrary raised quotas, demerit points for discipline, and so on...
How about, "Amazon PR executive" or "Amazon shill"? That would make it obvious.
Demand transparency, receive it, and demand bias. Really adult way to view the world.
This is not just an accident caused by people who have a "problem" of paying attention to those signals (that show where the tweets come from), but exactly as Amazon intended it. They wouldn't bothered to write those is they didn't think they'd have an effect on people -- and effect which is designed to work whether you glance or not.
Plus, all of this is beside the point. Whether people see what exactly this is or not, grinding your workers in all kinds of hellish ways, and then having PR "ambassadors" write feel good tweets about their condition, is not just dishonest, but a moral failure.
This might be acceptable in this world, but I don't want to be part of such a world, and will never consider it acceptable myself.
It would also be much more accurate as to the reason the Amazon employee writes something positive about the conditions there. Not because they work there, or because they actually believe it is so.
I feel like this is something that doesn't get taken seriously, as I see it violated a lot by companies of all sizes using influencers as a marketing/product awareness strategy. Especially with things like sponsored blog posts, Tweets, and Youtube reviews.
It's not, except a social media influencer is not a multi billion dollar company exploiting it workers, they just advertise crap to people.
That said, both practices should be banned.
I think it passes the clear and conspicuous test.
Have customer service reps clearly label themselves as such (All of these guys have "Amazon FC Ambassador" in their name, username, and profile, it's not hidden.)
Have reps look for false statements about Amazon.
Reps correct false statement with facts.
It's literally adding truth and facts to the world in a transparent way.
I don't consider paid statements to be a good indicator of anything except that Amazon is trying out different PR tactics.
Tweet: Hello! Amazon does pay their employees minimum wage - any less would be illegal One thing that often gets overlooked are the employee benefits that Amazon provides for all employees - Health insurance, 401K, career/financial counseling.
Amazon pays minimum wage is a factual statement. Minimum wage is not a good wage for the job but its still factual. You either offer them health insurance, 401K, counseling or you dont. I would say that's also a factual statement. Whether or not you agree with it is your decision but actually having transparent facts is refreshing these days.
I'm still not seeing why Amazon should be commended for what they're doing here, it's just form of social media marketing.
And, paid PR is not how you correct falsehoods. How about independent research? For example, if Amazon actually was interested in transparency, they could let a 3rd party survey a representative sample of warehouse workers and make public the results. That would be true transparency.
It's not the most comprehensive data, but I would put more stock in this than in paid tweets from employees.
If they really wanted to address the issue in a transparent way, why not conduct some independent research and release results to the public? E.g. an anonymous survey of a representative sample of warehouse workers.
I agree that we should take paid tweets by employees with a large grain of salt, but I also want to point out that you likewise have essentially 0 evidence that they're not telling the truth, apart from random surveys and a few investigative reports, most of which are about warehouses halfway around the world.
I think it's import to remember that, like Amazon, journalists also like to appeal to a certain narrative (how often do they report about the amount of Good Amazon has done for the world?).
A pattern of a few (potentially based) data points is hardly a pattern.
A lot of folks who have worked for Amazon have FC background; even I could qualify since I helped with some Christmas rush packing back in the mid 00's (I worked at an attached call center).
It's literally not.
How can you call opinions about working conditions "facts"?
Even some of the objective information they post is misleading according to the article, specifically the "we pay 30% more" bit.
They want even their white collar employees to have blue collar mindsets in terms of work ethic and cutting costs to benefit customers. If they could magically increase the wages of the FC employees and have no adverse consequences other than a slightly smaller profit margin, they might consider it, as it would be great PR for them. The problem would be that it would encourage employees to complain about working too hard and how they "deserve" to be paid more. The risk of employees trying to unionize might even go up.
Amazon cares a lot more about customers than employees, and the truth is most customers don't really care about where their products came from. When people go to a restaurant, they don't ask how much the line looks or dishwashers get paid, they just want good food.
At this point I don't know what they can do with the reputation. Just roll with it and accept it.
5 minutes of research would tell you this isn't a bad look at all. It's public and transparent PR.
The Twitter accounts have a standardised format, all bearing the Amazon smile logo as their background ... identical structures to their bios and the title "FC Ambassador" in their name, followed by a cardboard box emoji.
Don't mean to sound harsh, but the amount of comments on here from people that CLEARLY didn't read any of the article is astounding.
so what exactly should be illegal? Companies interacting with people on social media? PR in general?
I guess being that big means it's all about power, rules don't apply to you anymore.