Amazon Accused of Destroying Evidence with Disappearing Messaging App

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is alleging that Amazon executives used Signal, an encrypted messaging app with disappearing messages, to destroy evidence in their ongoing antitrust lawsuit against the company.

This comes after the FTC previously accused Amazon of creating a secret pricing algorithm (“Project Nessie”) that potentially generated significant unfair profits.

The FTC’s concern isn’t unique. Similar accusations were made against Sam Bankman-Fried during his fraud trial, and the lack of retrievable chats was also an issue in Google’s recent legal battles.

The FTC’s filing includes screenshots suggesting Amazon executives deliberately activated Signal’s disappearing message feature.

The filing identifies Jeff Bezos, Andy Jassy, and other high-ranking Amazon officials as Signal users, with Bezos being a “heavy user” who reportedly encouraged others to use the app.

The FTC argues that because Amazon only instructed employees to preserve messages over 15 months after the investigation began, crucial evidence was likely destroyed.

The FTC is now investigating the extent of this potential data loss and claims Amazon hasn’t been fully cooperative in providing requested documents.

If the judge agrees with the FTC, Amazon could face sanctions for failing to preserve relevant data. The consequences could be harsher if the judge determines the data loss was intentional.

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