Amazon investigating claims of employees leaking data for bribes

Amazon starts investigation of leaking data to merchants

That allows them to reach out to the reviewers directly, and potentially bribe them with free or discounted products to edit or delete their reviews. As per a company spokesperson, Amazon is considering various options regarding the incident: "terminating their selling accounts", "withholding funds", "deleting reviews", and "taking legal action". The practice is reportedly widespread in China where Amazon's internal sales data can sell for anywhere from $80 to $2,000.

This comes according to both merchants who bought said information, and brokers who sold it, both of whom talked to the publisher, along with "people familiar with internal investigations".

Amazon Vice President Nick Denissen on Monday told FOX Business on Monday that the retail giant has launched an investigation into employees possibly violating ethical guidelines. Since 2015, the company has been filing legal actions to fight against scams and already sued more than 1,000 entities involved in allegedly creating fake product reviews on its sites.

Amazon didn't immediate respond to a request for comment.

Bribery in Amazon
Amazon reportedly probing employees leaking data for bribes

Amazon encourages third-party sellers to sign up on its website.

Why it matters: Sellers on Amazon are willing to take significant risks to beat the competition, including paying to have negative reviews removed. Amazon employees in China may decide to participate because their salaries are quite low, and Chinese sellers may pay up in order to get information that can help them better position their merchandise on Amazon or to contact those who have left negative product reviews. "And then the contractor that they hired would leave a glowing review for each of those products that they sent out", explained Alex Goldman, host of Reply All.

However, the practice - which is a direct violation of Amazon policies - can also be used to hoodwink customers that are only shown positive reviews. The brokers were also proposing to delete negative reviews and restore banned accounts, it said.

Amazon could have quite the task on its hands.

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