EU examining Amazon's data usage
Margrethe Vestager, EU competition tsar, has confirmed that her office is reviewing Amazon's use of data harvested from third party sellers' transaction activity on its site in response to concerns that it may be using the said data to compete with sellers, who are in effect its own customers. The issue has long been discussed by merchants who, whilst generating sales via the Amazon platform, have questioned whether their successes with certain products have been used by Amazon to fine-tune its own direct, competing offerings.
Identifying that there is a potential conflict between Amazon's role as a selling platform and a retailer have seen Vestager's office issue questionnaires to merchants in order to better understand the issue. It was, however, confirmed as an "early days" review and no formal case has begun. The Federal Trade Commission in the US has launched its own review along the same lines.
Third party sellers were responsible for more than fifty per cent of Amazon's marketplace sales in 2017. Amazon reported sales of US $180bn last year.
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