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Amazon’s awkward Irish diplomatic disaster

Website Amazon has brought about many changes to the world of shopping and now entertainment. But it has never been responsible for a nation expanding its borders. Until now, it seems.In a cringe worthy series of tweets on Saturday, the US technology firm refused to acknowledge its role in something approaching an international diplomatic incident.It…

Website Amazon has brought about many changes to the world of shopping and now entertainment. But it has never been responsible for a nation expanding its borders. Until now, it seems.

In a cringe worthy series of tweets on Saturday, the US technology firm refused to acknowledge its role in something approaching an international diplomatic incident.

It all began banally enough when a customer sent a message to the Amazon customer service Twitter saying they had found it difficult to watch the rugby union Autumn Nations Cup on Prime, the firm’s streaming service.

“We apologise but upon reviewing your location you’re in Northern Ireland,” the Amazon account replied to the customer.

“Rugby Autumn Nations Cup coverage is exclusively available to Prime members based in the UK. We don’t have the rights to other territories.”

Trouble is, Northern Ireland is part of the UK. And it has been for quite some time.

Together with England, Scotland and Wales, it is one of the four nations that make up Britain.

The customer tried to explain this, but Amazon was having none of it. As far as the firm was concerned, Northern Ireland had moved countries.

“Many apologies but, we don’t have the broadcast rights for Ireland or other territories,” it replied.

The island of Ireland has been split between two states since the early 1920s, long before Amazon was born.

Twenty six of the island’s 32 counties are part of the independent country of Ireland, capital Dublin, while the remaining six counties are part of Northern Ireland in the UK, capital London.

There is no physical border between the two parts of Ireland and there has been much discussion, and violence over the years, about whether the two parts should be combined into a united sovereign state.

Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, there has largely been peace on the island. Although there are concerns about what effect Brexit will have between the two jurisdiction as Ireland remains in the European Union.

But the fact is, Northern Ireland is within Britain.

AMAZON JUST KEPT GOING

Despite a quick Google search confirming this, Amazon persisted in its insistence.

When another person said, “Northern Ireland IS the UK,” Amazon said they would “be sure to pass your feedback along to the appropriate team”.

As other people jumped on the lengthening tweet thread they had their own thoughts. One wanted “an independent Scotland to go with the united Island”.

Another photoshopped an image of the landmark “Free Derry” mural in Northern Ireland, and changed it to “free delivery”.

Irish comedian Dara O’Briain praised Amazon’s speedy service on an issue that had been intractable for a century.

“Amazon Prime have delivered a United Ireland, and before 6pm the same day,” he said.

Amazon just kept going though. In what seemed a clear sign it was a bot not a real person on Amazon’s customer service desk, every time someone pointed out the company’s error, it replied with a lost of the benefits of Amazon Prime.

Finally, and thankfully, someone slightly higher up in Amazon has stepped in, assuring everyone that the Autumn Nations Cup can be watched “in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK”.

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