FTC accuses Amazon executives of using Signal’s disappearing messages to destroy evidence 

The FTC accused Amazon executives of using Signal’s disappearing message feature to destroy evidence relevant to the agency’s antitrust investigation against the company

Published - April 27, 2024 01:28 pm IST

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Amazon’s top executives of using Signal’s disappearing message feature to destroy evidence.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Amazon’s top executives of using Signal’s disappearing message feature to destroy evidence. | Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused Amazon’s top executives of using Signal’s disappearing message feature to destroy evidence relevant to the agency’s antitrust investigation against the company.

The accusation levelled in filing to the district court of Seattle at Washington, include screenshots of a Signal chat between two Amazon executives who said “Are you feeling encrypted?” and proceeded to turn on disappearing messages.

Amazon founder and former CEO, Jeff Bezos is identified as “a heavy Signal user” who instructed others to use the app. FTC lawyers further say that Amazon’s current CEO Andy Jassy, general counsel David Zapolsky, former CEO of worldwide operations, and other execs are also Signal users.

The FTC is investigating charges that Amazon created a secret “Project Nessie” pricing algorithm that may have generated more than $1billion in extra products for the company.

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And because Amazon did not instruct employees to preserve messages sent in the app until more than 15 months after it was notified of the FTC’s investigation, the FTC argues that it is likely that information has been destroyed as a result of Amazon’s actions and inactions.

The FTC further claims that Amazon has so far refused to produce much of what was requested. If the judge finds that Amazo failed to preserve data ties to the case, the company could face possible sanctions and things could get worse if the judge finds that the failure to preserve information was intentional.

Amazon is one of several companies that have been accused of turning to encrypted messages apps like Signal that can permanently erase messages automatically.

Earlier similar allegations were levelled against Sam Bankman Fried’s use of Signal during his trial for fraud. Deleted chats were also brought up in Google’s case against Epic Games and the DOJ’s antitrust trial against the company.

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