- Dec 12, 2018
Amazon's witness at a hearing last year "may have lied to Congress" about how the company uses data from its third-party sellers to come up with its private-label products, House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline said Thursday.
The assertion comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation found Amazon employees had used non-aggregated or easily identifiable data from sellers on its platform to inform its proprietary product strategy, according to interviews with more than 20 former employees and documents reviewed by the Journal.
Those findings contradict testimony by Amazon's associate general counsel Nate Sutton at a July hearing hosted by the subcommittee. At the time, and in written answers submitted later on, Sutton maintained that Amazon does not use the data of individual sellers to inform its strategy, though he said it does use aggregated data that could give it a sense of how a product category is performing.
"We do not use any of that specific seller data in creating our own private brand products," Sutton said at the hearing.
"At best, Amazon's witness appears to have misrepresented key aspects of Amazon's business practices while omitting important details in response to pointed questioning," Cicilline said in a statement on the report. "At worst, the witness Amazon sent to speak on its behalf may have lied to Congress."
House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline is leading Congress' investigation into Amazon and other tech companies.