FTC Quietly Investigates Amazon

(PatriotWise.com) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating Amazon since 2019 over a host of speculative issues that the commission alleges may be abusive to consumers and the marketplace, according to OANN.

Some issues include Amazon’s $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot, the vacuum maker, violations of consumer privacy, and its monopolistic tendencies in the marketplace. The FTC is currently deliberating whether they are going to flag the acquisition and the FTC’s lawyers are reportedly leaning that way.

Their investigation includes looking into Amazon’s Ring camera and Alexa voice assistance, citing privacy and data concerns. The commission’s investigations include “dark patterns,” which target the deceptive practices the company engages in that negatively affect users.

The commission alleges that Amazon may be using methods that get users to subscribe to services like Prime which may be more expensive than advertised. The company also allegedly makes it tougher for users to opt out of these services. Antitrust lawsuits are in the process of being filed some sources familiar with the matter say.

The FTC is also looking into the “Amazon Choice” label that they said prioritizes some products over others despite the company’s claim that it does not.

Amazon being a large and multilayered company could reportedly explain the FTC’s “lack of execution” as they work to choose their cases carefully.

Amazon was sued by the commission once before for allegedly keeping some of the money that was due to their delivery drivers which the agency called illegal. After settling the suit, Amazon reportedly paid their $60 million drivers to the named drivers.

But the FTC lost another lawsuit in which they claimed that Meta’s acquisition of a reality app was illegal since they did not create the product. While the judge sided with the commission, it was cited that there was not enough evidence to support the claim.

FTC Chairman Rita Khan is reportedly against big tech and wrote a paper in 2017 calling out big conglomerate and suggesting that they need to be regulated better.

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