Amazon is reportedly facing a potential investigation of its marketplace by antitrust officials examining whether it’s using its influence to hurt competition.
According to Bloomberg, investigators with the Federal Trade Commission have started interviewing small businesses about how much revenue they make on Amazon versus other online marketplaces like Walmart or eBay.
Citing three merchants, the report says multiple attorneys and an economist have been conducting interviews that last 90 minutes. Antitrust experts quoted by Bloomberg claim the length of the interviews and the people involve suggest a serious probe of Amazon’s business.
The FTC declined to comment on the report. Amazon declined comment, pointing to remarks made by Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer operations, in June during the company’s re:MARS event.
“We believe that most substantial entities in the economy deserve scrutiny,” said Wilke. “Our job is to build the kind of company that passes that scrutiny with flying colors.”
A reported probe comes as tech giants such as Amazon face increased scrutiny from lawmakers over their business practices. In July, the Justice Department said it was reviewing online platforms such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter over possible anti-competitive and anti-consumer actions.
Internationally, Amazon is facing an antitrust probe by the European Commission over its role as a marketplace for independent sellers and a business directly selling competing products.
“E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior,” said European commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager in a statement in July.
Amazon isn’t alone. Facebook and Google are facing multi-state antitrust investigations over business practices.