Amazon is getting some help in its efforts to beat back a unionization movement at one of its fulfillment centers in Bessemer, Ala. But internet sleuths are pointing out that anti-union “employees” who have shown up on Twitter lately may not be real people.
Tweets praising Amazon and how great a company it is — without the benefit of a union — are spread across multiple accounts. The move is similar to what happened three years ago when so-called “FC ambassadors” showed up to tweet about working conditions inside warehouses and how much they loved working for Amazon.
One user under the handle @AmazonFCDarla joined Twitter a few days ago and tweeted about how she didn’t like unions because “there’s no ability to opt out of dues.” Author Stephen Greenhouse called out the tweet as false because Alabama is a so-called right-to-work state where workers can opt out of paying dues.
Aside from smart tech folks saying this is a fake, AI-generated profile, what Darla say is false, as Amazon well knows. Because Alabama is an anti-union-fee state (a so-called right-to-work state), Amazon workers there have the right to opt out of paying any union dues or fees. https://t.co/E9hrQrC0OK
— Steven Greenhouse (@greenhousenyt) March 29, 2021
Others were focused more on whether Darla is even real.
Gizmodo wrote about Amazon’s “anti-union Twitter army” on Monday, and said that Darla’s profile pic was almost certainly created using the website Generated Photos. Gizmodo said it was able to almost create the same Darla image using the website’s AI.
Some of the replies on Darla’s heavily ratioed tweets are especially fun from a bot-or-not perspective. One user borrowed the interrogation technique from the film “Blade Runner” and asked what Darla would do if she came upon a turtle struggling on its back in the desert sun. The question in the 1982 sci-fi film was meant to provoke a specific emotional response from so-called Replicants being sought by futuristic cops.
An Amazon spokesperson told GeekWire late Monday afternoon that Darla is not an Amazon FC Ambassador.
“It appears that this is a fake account that violates Twitter’s terms,” the spokesperson said. “We’ve asked Twitter to investigate and take appropriate action.”
real weird that Amazon has a persistent problem with fake accounts on Twitter claiming to be overjoyed warehouse workers (this tweet is from 2019) https://t.co/RzubrLyk6r
— o…k (@kateconger) March 29, 2021
Business Insider also reported Monday on the surge in apparent Amazon employee accounts.
Real trolls may very well be creating fake accounts to bash unions, whether they’re fans of Amazon as a non-union workplace, or just fans of messing with people on the internet.
The mix of real employees, bots and trolls is further complicated by the fact that very real accounts associated with Amazon and executives who work for the company have also been tweeting in defense of the tech giant lately.
Recode reported Sunday that the directive to fight back on Twitter came all the way from the top and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Here are tweets from a few more new accounts, including @Ok4At, another “happy Amazon employee” who joined this month and has one anti-union tweet. The bio image on that account was lifted from a photo of the viral YouTube stars Dude Perfect.
Amazon didn’t even really try with this one lol pic.twitter.com/Q9dyTzKqns
— Tim Sullivan ???? (@timjsully) March 29, 2021
Last Thursday was my 5 year anniversary working at Amazon. Five wonderful years of frequent bathroom breaks and lessons learned! Here’s to many more!
— Dan at ATX2 ???? (@AmazonFCDan) March 29, 2021
Oak4 Full-time Packer/Problem-Solver by day, Full-time Stan state student by night. I’m happy to be able to share my experience working at the number 1 facility in the network for almost 6 years now! pic.twitter.com/Vd5k0Wda00
— Gary at OAK4 ???? (@AmazonFCGary) March 26, 2021
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comment from Amazon.