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Strategy Elizabeth Warren accuses Amazon of using a 'special information advantage' for 'anti-competitive' practices (AMZN)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in conversation with The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin, explained why she thinks big tech companies like Amazon should undergo more scrutiny. For Warren, the issue lies with Amazon acting both as a platform for sellers and as a direct seller itself.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out Amazon. play

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called out Amazon.

(AP/Charles Krupa)

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in conversation with The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin, explained why she thinks big tech companies like Amazon should undergo more scrutiny.
  • For Warren, the issue lies with Amazon acting both as a platform for sellers and as a direct seller itself, all while collecting data from those transactions.
  • "Amazon gets this special information advantage that it [can] then exploit to wipe out [a business]," Warren told Sorkin. "That is a serious problem."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren laid out her criticisms of Amazon — and why she thinks it should be scrutinized more closely.

Speaking with The New York Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin on Thursday, Warren centered her criticism on the fact that Amazon is both a marketplace — essentially, a platform for other sellers — and a direct retailer itself.

The problem, Warren says, is that Amazon gets the data from all of these sales and doesn't necessarily share it. With that information, Amazon can then create its own market conditions and develop a private-label brand.

"Amazon gets this special information advantage that it [can] then exploit to wipe out [a business]," Warren told Sorkin. "That is a serious problem."

Warren said that, ultimately, Amazon should not be in both businesses.

"You got to pick one business or the other, baby," Warren said. "You want to be a competitor, be a competitor. That's great. You want to be the platform provider that is a different function. If you're getting a huge competitive advantage from being a platform provider because of all this information you keep scraping off, then we no longer have competition going on."

Amazon did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment.

Warren also compared Amazon's usage of data to Facebook's, arguing that people's information sometimes gets used in an "anti-competitive" way.

"I believe in markets," Warren said. "But I believe in markets where there's competition."

Amazon's Marketplace has grown to account for more than half of the brand's sales. Its growth is outpacing Amazon's sale of direct merchandise.

Amazon isn't the only online retailer that operates a marketplace while directly selling goods. Walmart also has a similar model.

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