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Amazon customer support team makes geography fail and inadvertently unites Ireland

Amazon customer support team makes geography fail and inadvertently unites Ireland


A support team member incorrectly suggested to a user that Northern Ireland is not part of the UK

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

An Amazon support member trying to help a subscriber on Twitter was apparently not fully up to speed on world geography when they suggested to the user that Northern Ireland wasn’t part of the United Kingdom.

Chris Jones was tweeting to the AmazonHelp account on Saturday, asking why he wasn’t able to view the Autumn Nations Cup, an international rugby tournament being live-streamed on Amazon Prime. After troubleshooting some possible technical issues, the helper believed they had found the problem: The match was only available to Prime Members in the UK.

As Jones notes in his reply, Northern Ireland is indeed part of the UK, which actually stands for The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Students of 20th-century history may recall that the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended decades of political violence in the region. The Republic of Ireland (generally referred to simply as “Ireland”) is a separate country.

Eventually someone at Amazon Support realized the gaffe and offered an apology.

I suspect the person who tweeted the “we don’t have the rights” tweet was possibly American or based in the US because they spelled “apologize” with a Z. The follow-up tweet spells “apologise” with the S, which is how it’s typically spelled in other English-speaking countries (including the UK).

While not everyone was amused by the error, most of Twitter did what Twitter does and helpfully informed AmazonHelp of the nature of its mistake.

And some put the situation into terms Amazon may be able to better understand:

We reached out to Amazon for comment and will update if we hear back. In the meantime, we’ll hoist a pint of Guinness and hope that the road may rise up to meet you, Amazon customer support team member.