Amazon probes leak of confidential customer data by staff

Visitors walk past a logo for Amazon China at the Beijing International Book Fair in Beijing on Aug. 23

Sources told The Wall Street Journal that some employees are accepting bribes from the independent merchants for things like deleting bad reviews of a product, or providing internal sales metrics and reviewers email addresses.

The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. Amazon has pushed hard to attract new sellers to its site, but the volume of third-party sellers (particularly those in China) will make it more difficult for the company to stamp out all cases of employee bribery.

In response, Amazon has said it is conducting a "thorough investigation" into the practice, while stating that it held "zero tolerance" for the misuse of its platform.

Several claims are under investigation, including at least one involving Amazon's USA employees. The publication cited brokers acting as intermediaries between the employees and the merchants seeking the important trade data.

Genuine sellers whose merchandise is of better quality have to fight much harder to even appear in the first few pages of the search results, all of which are drowned in counterfeit products of questionable quality.

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Amazon Inc. is looking into whether its employees are selling confidential data and using other tactics to inflate rankings for independent retailers.

Amazon says it will enforce penalties for anyone determined to have been involved in such practices, and that perpetrators may face criminal charges, according to the Wall Street Journal. Studies and reporting show that Amazon exploits their dependence to undermine them as rivals.

Another spokeswoman, quoted by CNN, said that Amazon had "sophisticated systems to restrict and audit access to information". "We have strict policies and a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics in place for our employees".

Amazon once sued more than 1,000 people who allegedly sold fake product reviews in an effort to mislead customers, according to a 2015 complaint.

Amazon claims that more than 99 percent of its reviews are legitimate, but data collected from the Post earlier this year found that more than half of the reviews in four product categories were found to be "questionable".

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