After a report surfaced that Amazon staffers utilized information regarding independent sellers to create rival items, House Judiciary Committee legislators requested that Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos provide testimony on the eCommerce retailer’s private-label procedures. Bezos’ testimony would offer a public forum for legislators to question the executive on the private-label matter in addition to other topics, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Legislators wrote in a letter to Bezos per the report, “On April 23, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon employees used sensitive business information from third-party sellers on its platform to develop competing products.” It continued, “The report was based on interviews with over 20 former or current Amazon employees and the company’s internal documents.”
The letter also said, “If these allegations are true, then Amazon exploited its role as the largest online marketplace in the U.S. to appropriate the sensitive commercial data of individual marketplace sellers and then used that data to compete directly with those sellers.”
The House panel, for its part, has been looking into the market influence of Amazon as well as other massive technology companies. The eCommerce retailer has been giving the House panel documents, but it reportedly opposed the concept of Bezos offering testimony personally.
In June, news surfaced that the House Judiciary Committee had said that it would look into whether large tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook are utilizing their power to stifle rivals, with the bipartisan probe determining if Congress has to pass more stringent antitrust laws.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a press release at the time, “The open internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, including a surge of economic opportunity, massive investment, and new pathways for education online.” Nadler continued, “But there is growing evidence that a handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control over key arteries of online commerce, content, and communications.”