Amazon Flex: Reports Claim Algorithm Dismisses Deliveries

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Amazon Flex: Bloomberg news portal published this Monday (28) a series of interviews with employees of Amazon’s Flex delivery service, who denounced terrible working conditions governed by the system’s algorithm. According to reports, problematic software makes traditional Human Resources decisions, firing, hiring, and reporting performance to professionals.

a dystopian gift

Each driver has a score that summarizes his performance in the service — fantastic, great, fair and “at risk” — but the system does not justify changes in the ranking and does not elaborate on the dismissal statements.

According to Neddra Lira, a former employee interviewed by Bloomberg, her rating declined after having to return packages due to a flat tire; Neddra spent weeks working to regain his “great” status, but even so, his in-app account was removed for violating the terms of the contract.

The complainant contested the dismissal; however, it was never reintroduced to Amazon Flex. The courier removed from service can file a Request for Arbitration, but this costs $200, about R$990 in direct conversion.

The official Amazon Flex delivery community on Reddit is full of complaints, queries and venting about performance reports, questionable layoffs and logistical issues in the company’s warehouses.

In the thread on the Bloomberg report, forum moderator, “CapnShinerAZ,” said: “Unfortunately, no exposure will motivate Amazon to make changes and make service fairer to couriers. As long as employees are easily replaceable, the company won’t will have reason to care”.

According to SensorTower, a market intelligence company, 200,000 people downloaded the Amazon Flex app in May.

Selfies for delivery

In 2019, the service started to require photos of professionals delivering packages to confirm that the app user is not sharing their account with others. This rule helps with security, preventing package theft; but many still need to work in groups to avoid parking fees—one keeps driving while the other delivers.

The selfies also highlighted problems with Amazon Flex’s face detection system, as users of the app were fired for their photos “not meeting program requirements” — the image has to be compatible with a driver’s license. So, good luck if you’ve lost weight, gained weight, or just cut your hair.

The Bezos giant does not deny the widespread use of the software, but believes in the quality of the system. “We’ve invested a lot in technology and resources to give drivers visibility into their jobs and the ability to continue deliveries; we investigate all disputes,” Amazon representative Kate Kudrna told Bloomberg.

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