Amazon has strict rules who can say what on its website. If they think that there is even the slightest chance that a reviewer was being rewarded by or had any connection to an author, the reviewer (and sometimes even the author) can get banned.
At a minimum, the review will be censored:
Thank you for reaching out today, Lissa. I'm sorry your review was rejected. Being linked to an author on Facebook, Twitter or another social platform can contribute to bias. Please take a moment to look over the review guidelines: https://t.co/Jf96N8VAVs ^SP
— Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) August 29, 2018
Those rules only apply to Amazon’s site, however. When it comes to Amazon’s own business, it follows a completely different set of rules.
From The Guardian:
Amazon wants you to know it is not the exploitative employer it is often made out to be. It wants you to know you should not believe nasty reports that its workers are forced to pee in bottles because they are not allowed toilet breaks. It wants you to know it is much maligned. Indeed, the e-commerce behemoth is so eager to communicate all these points that it has taken the unusual step of paying staff to tweet nice statements about it.
You may be asking yourself: is this real life or a dystopian fantasy? I’m afraid it is very much real life. It recently came to the internet’s attention that a number of Amazon warehouse workers have been scouring Twitter for criticism of the company and replying to it with suspiciously cheerful counterpoints. Last week, for example, an account called @AmazonFCShaye responded to a tweet that said the company should pay its workers more: “Did you know that Amazon pays warehouse workers 30% more than other retailers? I feel proud to work for Amazon – they’ve taken good care of me.”
@AmazonFCShaye, it turns out, is one of several Amazon “FC ambassadors”. FC doesn’t stand for forced cheerfulness. Rather, as Amazon said last week: “FC ambassadors are employees who have experience working in our fulfillment centers and choose to take the role of being an FC ambassador, do this full-time and receive the same compensation and benefits.” In other words, the warehouse workers tweeting super-specific statistics about how much better Amazon is than other companies are doing so because they are being paid to proselytize about how fulfilled they are by their fulfillment center jobs.
If I were paying someone to say nice things about my company on Amazon’s site, I would be banned from the site. Yet Amazon thinks it is perfectly okay to have its employees run an astroturfing campaign on Twitter and other social media.
Does anyone else see this as hypocritical?