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Josh Hawley asks Amazon witnesses to increase their own products



Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Tuesday called on Amazon to testify about a Wall Street Journal report that the company denied.

The article, which The Wall Street Journal published on Monday, accused Amazon of changing search algorithms to increase and prioritize marketing its own products, citing anonymous sources that allegedly worked on the changes.

"Any fine tuning to the Amazon search system has major implications because the giant's rankings can create or destroy a product," explained the Journal . "The site's search box is the most common way for American buyers to find merchandise online, and most purchases come from the first page of search results."

"The problem is particularly sensitive because the US and the European Union are investigating Amazon's dual role ̵

1; as a marketplace operator and seller of its own branded products. An algorithm skewed toward profitability can steer customers toward thousands of Amazon's own products that deliver higher profit margins than competing listings on the site , "the newspaper reported, noting that such algorithm changes could" cause antitrust regulator problems. "

The exchange between Hawley and Amazon took place after the Senator published the Journal story on his Twitter account on Monday, and commented on “This deserves scrutiny. Does Amazon use monopoly power to kill small businesses and other competitors? Do consumers suffer as a result? Millions of American families are in some way dependent on Amazon. "

Amazon denied the allegations, and replied Hawley, "Not true. @WSJ history based on anonymous sources is incorrect, we have not changed the criteria we use to rank search results to include profitability, we have products customers want, regardless of whether it is our own brands or products offered by our sales partners. "

"Do you want to testify under oath and open your books to an investigator? Hawley fired back, but the company didn't respond.

Friday, House Judiciary Committee members requested documents from Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook in an effort to to determine whether the companies had closed competition.

[ Photo by Mark Wilson / Getty Images ]

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