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“Amazon lied” to US elected officials who demand an investigation

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A US House committee has asked the Justice Department to investigate potential obstruction of Congress by the e-commerce giant.

The e-commerce giant’s anti-competitive practices are in the crosshairs of elected Americans.

Reuters

Amazon has sought to “influence, impede or obstruct” the House Judiciary Committee investigation, according to elected Democrats and Republicans. “Faced with our requests, the leaders of Amazon have resorted to recurring deceptive practices”, they accuse in a letter addressed to the ministry and published on Wednesday. The commission is asking the US Department of Justice to investigate potential obstruction of Congress by the e-commerce giant.

Amazon “judge and party”

The commission has been investigating for 16 months, in particular on the role of “judge and jury” of Amazon on its e-commerce platform, where it defines and applies the regulations for the marketing of products by products of third-party companies, but also his.

“During a committee hearing, a senior Amazon official said the company does not use data collected about third-party sellers to compete with them, and does not list its products ahead of third-party products in search results. consumer research”, notes for example the commission. “A credible investigation showed the opposite,” she adds, referring to an article by The Markup, a journalism NGO. “Amazon lied”, insist the elected officials again in their letter.

Big bosses auditioned

This parliamentary committee has received on several occasions representatives of Amazon, but also titans of Silicon Valley, whom it accuses of abuse of a dominant position. In July 2020, Sundar Pichai (Alphabet, parent company of Google), Tim Cook (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, now Meta) and Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon), were thus auditioned by videoconference.

Monopoly denounced

“Amazon is only interested in exploiting its monopoly on online sales,” David Cicilline, chairman of the subcommittee on competition, said at the time. “Its dual role as host and merchant on the same platform is fundamentally anti-competitive. Congress needs to take action.” To support this point, the elected Pramila had quoted a former employee of Amazon: “(the chiefs) just tell us: “do not use the data”. But it’s a real candy store, everyone has access to whatever they want.

Various investigations and lawsuits for anticompetitive practices have been launched by American states and the American competition authority against Meta and Google, in particular, but also against Amazon, to a lesser extent. The Seattle group, which did not immediately respond to a request from AFP, regularly highlights the successes of third-party companies on its platform.

(AFP)

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