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Bezos says he 'can't guarantee' Amazon hasn't used third-party data to boost its products

Bezos says he 'can't guarantee' Amazon hasn't used third-party data to boost its products

Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Privacy, immigrant rights groups slam 'smart wall' proposal | New DHS policies aim to fight cyber 'epidemic' | Twitter exploring allowing users to charge for content Bezos-backed rocket launch delayed til next year Hillicon Valley: Krebs is back on Capitol Hill | Cybersecurity as 'preeminent threat' | News on data privacy and voter security MORE said Wednesday he cannot guarantee that his company has fully adhered to a policy against using data from third-party sellers on the platform to boost its own products.

“We have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private label business,” Bezos said at a House subcommittee hearing under questioning by Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalProgressives fume over Senate setbacks House Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Budget Committee chair pledges to raise minimum wage: 'Hold me to it' MORE (D-Wash). “But I can't guarantee you that that policy has never been violated.”

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Amazon used information from other sellers on the platform to make decisions regarding its private label business, which includes more than 243,000 products.

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That reporting directly contradicted 2019 testimony from Amazon associate general counsel Nate Sutton, who told the House Judiciary Committee that “we do not use any seller data to compete with them.”

When pressed on that report by Jayapal during Wednesday’s hearing on competition in digital markets, Bezos said an investigation is ongoing.

“We continue to look into that very carefully,” he said. “I'm not yet satisfied we've gotten to the bottom of it and we're going to keep looking at it.”

Amazon’s dual role as the operator of an online marketplace and a seller of goods in that same market has drawn significant antitrust scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic.

The European Union’s top antitrust regulator announced last year it was investigating Amazon over that combination.

Bezos later added in his response to Jayapal that he was “very proud of what we've done for third-party sellers on this platform.”

Bezos was among four of the nation's top tech CEOs testifying as part of a House Judiciary subcommittee’s investigation into competition in digital marketplaces launched last year. He was joined by Facebook's Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergWho killed the California dream? If you think it was liberals, think again Facebook touts benefits of personalized ads in new campaign Mellman: White working-class politics MORE, Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook.