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Bezos’s desire for pushback against criticism led to Amazon’s social team going on hyperdrive

Bezos told Amazon execs they were not pushing back hard enough on critics.
Bezos told Amazon execs they were not pushing back hard enough on critics. (REUTERS)

Amazon's social media team bared its teeth this week to go after two big critics: Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Amazon’s social media team last week launched an unusual attack on its big critics Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The aggressive push from the social media team came after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressed dissatisfaction over the company’s responses to the criticisms, according to Recode.

After news broke that Sanders was planning to visit Alabama, top Amazon executive Dave Clark took to Twitter to take a jab at the senator.

“I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace,” Clark’s account posted on Wednesday. “I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.”

After a few hours, Amazon News, the company’s official Twitter handle with over 170,000 followers, took a shot at House Rep. Mark Pocan, who had raised questions over Clark’s “progressive workplace” assertion by alluding to stories of Amazon’s pace of work being so demanding that workers have to “urinate in water bottles,” added the report.

“You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?” the official Amazon News account responded. “If that were true, nobody would work for us.”

The scathing attack through the social channel took some of the Amazon executives by surprise as well. According to the report, an internal ticket titled “Suspicious activity on @amazonnews Twitter account” was raised.

“Over the past two days, there have been two threads by @amazonnews in response to comments made by US Government officials that have received considerable attention,” the ticket read. “The tweets in question do not match the usual content posted by this account.”

An Amazon security engineer pointed out that the tweets were posted using Twitter’s web application rather than Sprinklr, the software the social team generally uses. The engineer asserted that the tweets “are unnecessarily antagonistic (risking Amazon’s brand) and maybe a result of unauthorized access.” The ticket was closed without any action taken, the report added.

The report further said that the timing of such a public spat is not coincidental. Bezos and Amazon’s top executives are preparing for what is said to be the largest union election in the company history at Alabama warehouse. The report noted that if workers chose to unionise, it would set off a chain reaction at other facilities. If the union has its way, Amazon will be forced to make significant changes to how it manages its employees. The Alabama voting is also said to be at a much larger scale as nearly 6,000 workers are eligible to vote.

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