Source: Vanity Fair
Five members of the US’s top lawmakers have accused several Amazon executives, including its founder Jeff Bezos, of allegedly twisting some truth. The group wrote directly to Amazon’s chief executive, Andy Jassy, on Sunday, October 17, 2021, after they found that there might have been a deliberate effort to mislead Congress about the company’s business practice.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers has said that they would be considering referring the company for “criminal investigation” and are now asking for Amazon to provide exculpatory evidence in the light of developing reports that could prove that its leadership team intentionally twisted the truth to get out of trouble’s way.
The accusation comes after an investigation about Amazon’s operations that seem to rig search results in India to boost its own brands’ sales. The company vehemently denied the allegations in an open statement, but evidence is now arising that the observation has some bearing.
A representative of the company has come forward to strengthen further the company’s claim that it had nothing to hide and that it was standing on the truth: “Amazon and its executives did not mislead the committee, and we have denied and sought to correct the record on the inaccurate media articles in question,” a spokesperson has communicated.
The long-standing examination began in 2019 after the House Judiciary decided to investigate Amazon and other players in the e-commerce world. The goal was to check on their best practices and ensure that all their operations remained ethically fair and just across all borders and applications. Amazon’s use of third-party seller data has become a target of investigation as there were earlier indications that the company unfairly favored its products.
To this allegation, Jeff Bezos provided a sworn testimony before the Judiciary Committee’s anti-trust group last year that these observations had no bearing. The company founder added that company employees are prohibited from using individual sellers to benefit Amazon’s internal brands and products. In 2019, Nate Sutton, another Amazon top executive and general counsel said that the company has never used any data for its own benefit or accord. “The algorithms are optimized to predict what customers want to buy regardless of the seller,” Sutton explained.
Investigations will most likely resume on the e-commerce giant as a report from Reuters showed thousands of pages worth of internal Amazon documents that contraindicated the company’s defense claims. Sources are saying that these documents came from a source within the company. As per the document, it would seem to news channels and the general public that there have been manipulations to the algorithm in India. The report also indicated that Amazon is allegedly copying other sellers’ goods.
Reuters has also come forward with a claim that at least two of its executives were well aware of these activities and allowed them to continue. In the letter addressed to Andy, citations to stories from Markup, The Wall Street Journal, and the Capitol Forum also appeared on Amazon’s private-brand products and abuse of seller data. The five lawmakers who furbished the letter were New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler, David Cicilline, D-R.I., Ken Buck, R-Colo., Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla.