Published: 09:28 EDT, 31 March 2021 | Updated: 10:19 EDT, 31 March 2021
Amazon recruited a Twitter army that was code-named 'Veritas' whose members were picked for their 'sense of humor' - and their task was to defend Jeff Bezos' reputation online.
The army was recruited in 2018 but reared its head again this week as workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Alabama voted on whether to form a union amid complaints about working conditions.
On Twitter, the army has defended worker conditions and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and has even gone after the company's biggest critics like Bernie Sanders, the liberal senator from Vermont.
They were told specifically to confront people on Twitter in a 'blunt' manner, according to an internal document about their training that was obtained by The Intercept.
The document was marked 'Amazon.com confidential' and titled ' Global social CS Program Management.'
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A confidential training memo details Amazon's 'fulfillment center ambassador' program that was code-named Veritas. It shows examples of the Twitter accounts the ambassador's use to defend the company online
The ambassadors have handles that begin AmazonFC and follow with their names. They go online to share what they say are good experiences from their time at work
Another Amazon FC account where this week, the worker defended how long they take for lunch
It read: 'To address speculation and false assertions in social media and online forums about the quality of the FC [Fulfillment Center] associate experience, we are creating a new social team staffed with active, tenured FC employees, who will be empowered to respond in a polite—but blunt—way to every untruth,” the project description reads. “FC Ambassadors (‘FCA’) will respond to all posts and comments from customers, influencers (including policymakers), and media questioning the FC associate experience.'
'The goal of today's meeting is to get aligned on the launch plan for the FC Ambassadors program. FC (fulfillment center) Ambassador Program Tenets (Unless you know better ones...)
'1. Tell your truth: We encourage our associates to share experiences about their time with Amazon. We will we [sic] not offer misleading or untrue messages in order to "spin" what may be an uncomfortable situation for the company.
'2. Preserve Customer Trust: Our number one priority is continuing to earn the trust of our customers by educating them on what it's actually like inside Amazon FCs.
Amazon's corporate communications department hit back at Rep Mark Pocan last week after he criticized the company
The ambassadors also defend Amazon founder Jeff Bezos online
'3. Respect: We vigilantly refute untruths about the working experience at Amazon.
'We may be direct, even blunt, but we will always be respectful, even to our worst critics.'
The Veritas 'ambassadors' and the Amazon PR account have trolled critics like Bernie Sanders online.
In one reply, the Amazon PR account wrote: 'I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.'
Sanders was also singled out in the document in role play scenarios where an ambassador replied to a comment he'd made about Bezos' exorbitant wealth: 'Everyone should be able to enjoy the money they’ve earned/saved. It’s theirs. They should be able to do with it as they please. That includes Jeff Bezos.'
Details of the 'ambassador' program emerged this week amid growing outcry over the conditions Amazon workers say they face.
Some delivery drivers claim they have been forced to urinate or defecate in bags and bottles to avoid taking breaks because, they say, they are under such intense pressure to make deliveries on time.
Among those who has spoken out against the company is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who said workers should be able to form a union.
Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer are deciding whether they want to form a union - the biggest labor push in the online shopping giant's history.