Amazon began investigating reports that some of its employees have been leaking company information in exchange for bribes, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The report claims that Amazon employees have been revealing sales information, deleting negative reviews, and offering up reviewers' email addresses in exchange for money from third-party Amazon sellers. Typically, these interactions have been facilitated by intermediaries that seek out Amazon employees who are willing to offer such services.
While some instances have been traced to US employees, the practice is reportedly rampant in China among Chinese Amazon employees and local third-party sellers. Amazon employees in China may decide to participate because their salaries are quite low, and Chinese sellers may pay up in order to get information that can help them better position their merchandise on Amazon or to contact those who have left negative product reviews.
"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," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "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."