No matter how much we try to deny it, we, as a society, don’t function on a level playing-field. Some individuals and groups having a more advantageous environment around them is one of the most prevalent truths of our lives. We, in turn, never really had an option but to make our peace with this fact, and that’s what we did. However, the Pandora box was opened once again when technology came around the block. The creation offered everyone an equal shot at achieving something special, and that had everyone hopeful for better days, but only if it was that simple. Despite all its promises, technology would soon separate itself from the less privileged. Instead, it will become another tool for people to show off their high stature in the society, thus bringing those accessibility issues back into the mix. What’s worse is here is that the companies re-opening the gap would do so in a variety of ways. Inflating the prices beyond the affordability limits of many people is certainly up there as the most extensively used method; nevertheless, there are also some relatively more subtle methods in play. A recent case involving Amazon makes for a perfect example to back this up.
As a result of some recurring claims about Amazon practicing search and product discrimination, house lawmakers have now given the e-commerce giant a final chance to correct the record. The claims against Amazon imply that the company sells user data to copy popular third-party products and manipulate search results. These reports, by and large, differ with what Jeff Bezos said back in 2020. According to Bezos, Amazon “prohibits the use of anonymized data, if related to a single seller, when making decisions to launch private brand products.”
If the situation wasn’t sticky enough, the possibility of Bezos misleading the committee makes Amazon’s case far less convincing than it might have been in any other circumstances. The company isn’t being accused of something like this for the first time though. Third-party sellers have come out time and again to reveal that the platform was essentially killing their business off by directing the user to Amazon’s own products. Such tactics were largely the reason behind the House launching a full-blown antitrust investigation into the company last year, and by the looks of it, their efforts towards better regulating organizations like Amazon are now reaching the point of crescendo.
In response to the letter received from House Judiciary Committee Lawmakers, an Amazon’s spokesperson has gone on the record and said:
“We investigate any allegations that this policy may have been violated and take appropriate action. In addition, we design our search experience to feature the items customers will want to purchase, regardless of whether they are offered by Amazon or one of our selling partners.”
Amazon has until 1st of November to provide sufficient evidence to support their stance on the situation.