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**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

Date: September 4, 2018
Media Contact: mediacenter@freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org

As Congress Begins To Scrutinize Big Tech’s Harmful Practices, Lawmakers Must Focus On Amazon’s Big Brother Business Model

Congress Must Take A Serious Look At How Amazon Is Stockpiling Consumer Data Like Facebook And Running Its Shipping Centers Like Sweatshops – All While Receiving Massive Amounts Of Taxpayer Subsidies

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google will testify on Capitol Hill today, and Congress is planning to ask tough questions about foreign influence on platforms and raise concerns about transparency and accountability. Lawmakers deserve credit for organizing these urgent hearings and engaging some of social media’s most influential players, but they must put executives from Amazon in the hotseat next.

“Amazon has just as much data on Americans as Facebook, Twitter and Google,” said Martin Chávez, FFMI spokesperson and former three-term mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “The company knows the books we read, the shows we watch, the food we eat, and even what we say in the privacy of our own homes. And we recently heard that Amazon is getting ready to cash in on all that personal information by expanding its advertising business. Yet it remains a mystery what Amazon is doing, if anything, to protect our data. It is time for Congress to ask Amazon exactly the same questions they are posing to Facebook, Twitter and Google this week.”

“Ducking scrutiny on consumer data privacy is one of many red flags from Amazon that should have lawmakers and regulators taking a much closer look at the company,” said Robert B. Engel, chief spokesperson of FFMI. “Amazon also treats its warehouse workers like second-class employees, paying them a median salary of less than $29,000 per year. Meanwhile, third-party sellers continue to speak up about Amazon manipulating prices and steering consumers to its own products instead of those of its competitors. All this is made worse by the fact that Amazon has strong-armed state and local governments into forking over $1.5 billion taxpayer dollars to help bankroll fulfilment centers and distribution facilities. Enough is enough – it’s time for lawmakers to pose tough questions to Amazon.”

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ABOUT THE FREE AND FAIR MARKETS INITIATIVE
The Free & Fair Markets Initiative (FFMI) is a non-profit coalition of businesses, consumer advocacy groups, workers and community activists committed to scrutinizing and highlighting emerging market trends that are stifling competition and innovation, influencing federal and local government spending, putting consumer data in harm’s way and limiting consumer choice. For a list of members, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org/about-us/members/. For more information on the Free & Fair Markets Initiative, please visit https://freeandfairmarketsinitiative.org.

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