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FTC Accuses Amazon Executives of Using Disappearing Messaging Apps to Conceal Evidence

 |  April 28, 2024

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has accused Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and other top company executives of employing disappearing messaging applications like Signal to conceal potential evidence in the agency’s ongoing antitrust case against the e-commerce giant.

The Washington Post reported on the allegations, detailing the FTC’s claims that Amazon’s leadership, including Bezos, discussed sensitive business matters, including antitrust issues, over the Signal encrypted messaging app instead of email.

The FTC alleged in a document filed Thursday evening that Amazon executives utilized Signal’s ‘disappearing message’ feature, which permanently erases messages, even after being notified of the FTC’s investigation into their conduct. The agency further asserted that despite being instructed to preserve documents and communications, Amazon executives manually activated the feature to delete messages in Signal.

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According to the FTC, many of Amazon’s senior leaders, including former CEO Jeff Bezos, current CEO Andy Jassy, general counsel David Zapolsky, former head of worldwide consumer business Jeff Wilke, and former worldwide operations chief Dave Clark, utilized Signal for internal communications.

FTC attorneys emphasized Amazon’s tight control over written communications within the company but highlighted the executives’ use of Signal as a means to circumvent careful communication practices by destroying message records. This move, the FTC argues, hindered the investigation into Amazon’s business practices.

Responding to the allegations, Amazon dismissed the FTC’s claims as “baseless.” The company stated on its website that it voluntarily disclosed employees’ use of Signal, collected Signal conversations from employees’ phones, and allowed the FTC to review conversations, even those unrelated to the investigation.

Source: Washington Post