Amazon is intensifying its bizarre online public relations strategy of picking increasingly petty fights with sitting US Congress members, with the company’s Amazon News account on Friday shifting targets from Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
“You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them. If you don’t like the laws you’ve created, by all means, change them. Here are the facts: Amazon has paid billions of dollars in corporate taxes over the past few years alone,” the account tweeted Thursday in response to a critique from Warren that Amazon exploits “loopholes and tax havens to pay close to nothing in taxes.” There’s a growing mountain of evidence pointing out how Amazon pays very little in taxes compared to its annual sales and profits.
1/3 You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them. If you don’t like the laws you’ve created, by all means, change them. Here are the facts: Amazon has paid billions of dollars in corporate taxes over the past few years alone.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 26, 2021
Then, earlier today, the Amazon News account struck back at Warren yet again after she responded outlining her intentions to regulate the company, taking an even more trollish turn and accusing the senator of trying to “break up an American company so that they can’t criticize her anymore.”
Somehow, one of the most powerful and valuable companies on Earth has decided its bold new PR strategy should involve playing immature semantics with a US senator.
This is extraordinary and revealing. One of the most powerful politicians in the United States just said she’s going to break up an American company so that they can’t criticize her anymore. https://t.co/Nt0wcZo17g— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 26, 2021
This latest dust-up caps a surreal week for Amazon’s PR team, which continues to wage these battles anonymously and without attaching an executive’s name to any of its childish internet taunts and misdirection.
The same account falsely asserted earlier this week that it is untrue Amazon warehouse and delivery workers find themselves forced to pee into water bottles. The Amazon News account lied about this — despite the wealth of evidence to the contrary — in a late Wednesday tweet in response to Pocan calling out the company for hypocrisy.
The whole debate started when Amazon’s Dave Clark, its senior vice president of worldwide operations and so far the only executive to publicly spar on Twitter under their own name, criticized Sanders. The context, of course, and why Amazon’s PR division may be kicking up so much dust is that Sanders had publicly announced his plans to travel to Alabama today to speak in support of the state’s historic Amazon warehouse unionization campaign.
1/2 You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you? If that were true, nobody would work for us. The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.— Amazon News (@amazonnews) March 25, 2021
Clark attacked Sanders on Tuesday of this week and then again yesterday after Sanders mentioned his trip to Birmingham, and Clark has since gone quiet except to retweet the Amazon News account’s latest Warren dig.
All we want to know is why the Sen is one of the most powerful pols in VT for 30+ yrs and their min wage is STILL only $11.75.AMZN’s min wage is $15 + great health care from Day 1.The Sen should save his finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard. https://t.co/dRo2Tv1xDQ— Dave Clark (@davehclark) March 25, 2021
Amazon’s defensive tweets, specifically the one about pee bottles, ignited a torrent of backlash, photographic evidence, and yet more investigative reporting from The Intercept, Vice, and others proving that countless Amazon workers have, in fact, resorted to urinating into bottles and even defecating into bags because of the time and efficiency pressures imposed upon them.
All of this leads us to believe that Amazon either thinks it is so powerful and untouchable that it can openly taunt the few Congress members who’ve expressed desires to regulate Big Tech, or the company has simply handed the Twitter reins to an internet culture warrior who thinks they’re battling in the trenches of a Breitbart comment section. Maybe both.