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US senators against Amazon

A bipartisan group of senators in the US has announced plans to introduce a new antitrust bill that could reshape Amazon and other online marketplaces.

The proposed bill would prohibit platforms from requiring companies operating on their sites to purchase the platform’s goods or services. The bill also would ban tech companies from biasing search results to favor their own products, reports Seattle Times.

This announcement follows a Reuters report claiming that Amazon used marketplace search data to copy popular products and manipulate results favoring the company’s own knockoff products.

It is backed by an investigation published Thursday by online tech watchdog The Markup with similar conclusions: the most reliable predictor of whether an item appears at the top of search results is not the number of reviews it has garnered or how well it is rated, but whether it is an Amazon-branded product. The Markup said it came to its conclusions after examining data on search results for thousands of terms.

The new reports add even more steam to a growing consensus that Amazon exercises too much power over its marketplace platform, to the detriment of sellers and consumers.

The Verge points out that the  bipartisan support is a significant step forward for lawmakers seeking to regulate online marketplaces, showing that both Republicans and Democrats are willing to work together to spur competition in the industry.

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