Amazon employees have allegedly taken bribes to delete reviews, reveal internal data, and help sellers gain an unfair advantage, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.
The report details how Amazon employees would be identified through social media channels, and then offered payments to divulge such information as the email addresses of customers who left negative reviews, sales data, and more. Payments have ranged from $300 to $2,000, according to the story.
Gaming Amazon so that a product appears higher in search results, or has a better customer rating, is as longstanding a practice as Amazon has been around. However, bribing employees in the company itself is a particularly concerning development, and it's unknown at this time how many reviews and product pages have been affected.
Amazon confirmed to the Journal that it was investigating claims in China and the U.S. In a statement released to several media outlets, the company stated:
"We have strict policies and a Code of Business Conduct & Ethics in place for our employees. We implement sophisticated systems to restrict and audit access to information. We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our Code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties. In addition, we have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behavior, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action. We are conducting a thorough investigation of these claims."
We will update this article as we learn more.