Amazon employees have used data about the vast number of independent sellers on its platform to create competing products — in violation of its own policies and statements to Congress, according to a Wall Street Journal report.The retail giant, which has felt a surge of goodwill for providing essential goods nationwide amid the coronavirus pandemic and for planning to hire 175,000 new workers, has long claimed that it does not use proprietary data collected from the site’s third-party sellers in order to produce and sell its own products.However, according to interviews with more than 20 former employees of the tech company’s private-label business and documents reviewed by the Journal, the company did do that. This type of information is very useful, as it can help Amazon figure out how to price something, what features of an item to copy or whether it’s worth entering a product segment based on consumer interest, sources explained to the Journal.CHALLENGE OF TRACKING COVID-19’s STEALTHY SPREAD REVEALED IN NEW STUDYThe Journal cites one example of Amazon employees gaining access to documents and data about a bestselling car-trunk organizer sold by a third-party vendor. That data included total sales, how much the vendor paid Amazon for marketing

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