New Yorkers Turn to Twitter to Protest Amazon’s Impending Move to Long Island City

Hashtags like #HQ2Scam are gaining momentum

Some Twitter users aren't happy about HQ2. Getty Images
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

New Yorkers are still not happy that Amazon is moving in and, much like observants of Festivus, they are airing their grievances.

According to data from social media monitoring firm Brandwatch, this anti-Amazon sentiment is surfacing on Twitter with the hashtags #NoAmazonNYC and #HQ2Scam generating 1500 and 950 mentions respectively in the first two weeks of December.

#NoAmazonNYC was mentioned nearly 800 times alone on Dec. 12, which is when two Amazon executives appeared before the New York City Council. That, Brandwatch said, marked an increase of 1200 percent from the normal daily mention average. Similarly, #HQ2Scam had more than 535 mentions, which was an increase of 2900 percent from its normal daily average.

A Brandwatch rep said in order to identify where tweets are coming from with absolute certainty, the user would have to have geolocation turned on, which isn’t always the case. Nevertheless, the firm can identify nearly 800 mentions of #NoAmazonNYC, over 500 mentions of #HQ2Scam and over 400 mentions of #AmazonAnswersNYC from New York City.

And, not surprisingly, Brandwatch found the majority of these mentions are negative.

As a result, #NoAmazonNYC had over 11.1 million impressions and #HQ2Scam had more than 9.9 million in the first half of December.

By way of comparison, Amazon’s response, #AmazonAnswersNYC, had 700 mentions in the first two weeks and over 7.9 million impressions.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

The Seattle Times reports Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president for public policy, and Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s director of global economic development, faced an anti-Amazon banner with #HQ2Scam on it in New York, as well as “applause, shouts and jeers, by a spectrum of liberal opponents who packed the council’s chambers” and “by the time it was over [they] … looked as if they may have regretted coming.”

That’s in part because after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the HQ2 announcement in November touting 25,000 new jobs over the next decade and billions in tax revenue for the city and state, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson issued a statement outlining his concerns, including: lack of community input; the exclusion of City Council from negotiations; and public money being given to one of the world’s richest companies instead of being allocated for affordable housing, transportation, infrastructure and education.

Similarly, New Yorkers have expressed concerns about rent increases in Long Island City, which could push out low-income residents, as well as what the influx of thousands more commuters means for the crumbling 114-year-old Subway system, which averaged 69 major incidents—or incidents that delay 50 or more trains—a month from January to November 2018.

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.