- Amazon is not a fan of Lina Khan, a vocal big tech critic who now leads the FTC.
- The company filed a request to have her removed from any enforcement decisions involving Amazon.
- In 2017, Khan wrote a widely-read paper about how Amazon has escaped antitrust scrutiny.
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Amazon really doesn’t like the Federal Trade Commission’s new leader.
The company on Wednesday filed a 25-page request to the FTC to have Lina Khan removed from any enforcement decision involving Amazon. That would include the FTC’s current review of Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM, as well as an antitrust investigation into the company that is already in process.
Amazon says there’s a conflict of interest because Khan has been publicly critical of large tech companies, especially Amazon, in the past.
“Given her long track record of detailed pronouncements about Amazon, and her repeated proclamations that Amazon has violated the antitrust laws, a reasonable observer would conclude that she no longer can consider the company’s antitrust defenses with an open mind,” Amazon said in the filing, which was published by Axios and also reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.
An FTC spokesperson declined to comment, saying petitions and letters to the FTC are not public.
Khan gained notoriety in the tech and antitrust law worlds after she wrote a paper in 2017 titled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” She said the current antitrust framework is outdated, which enabled the company to evade antitrust scrutiny, despite growing rapidly and using predatory pricing.
She also made the argument in the paper for what it will look like if Amazon were to be broken up.
Amazon also said Khan is biased because she helped the House investigate Amazon and other big tech firms over online competition. After lawmakers conducted the months-long probe, they released a report calling tech companies “the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.”
President Joe Biden appointed the 32-year-old Big Tech critic to the post earlier this month, and antitrust reformers rejoiced that a vocal anti-monopoly advocate would be helming the agency.
Many dubbed Khan “Big Tech’s biggest nightmare” as the industry, which long operated with little regulatory oversight, may soon be put in its place
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.