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Opinion | Jeff Bezos Is Taunting Politicians. Will They Take the Bait?


At first, it appeared like a bonkers technique, and I instantly acquired quite a few texts from excessive degree and difficult public relations of us in tech, all of whom have been additionally dumbfounded. One savvy P.R. professional at a giant tech firm wrote to me: “These Amazon tweets are malpractice. They’re letting inside frustrations drive exterior messaging. Whole lack of self-discipline.”

Certainly, all of it felt oddly emotional and dangerous, which is why it was clear that the choice to launch such assaults might have been made solely by somebody who by no means suffers when errors are made: Mr. Bezos.

Why would he take such an method?

I don’t assume his intention was to affect the union vote in Alabama. As an alternative, the purpose was to goad progressives into proposing laws round issues like knowledge privateness and a $15 federal minimal wage that Mr. Bezos is aware of can’t cross with out being watered down and, thus, made much less harmful to giants like Amazon.

After gaining immense energy within the pandemic and changing into one of many best-liked manufacturers round, the corporate is now saying to Washington legislators, who’ve dragged their toes and held limitless and largely ineffective hearings about how one can take care of tech: I dare you to manage us.

For Amazon, weak regulation would definitely be significantly better than having to speak concerning the very actual human toll that free delivery might need on its employees. It’s an perspective that we are going to see adopted by much more tech leaders who’re going to attempt to use the momentum for regulation of their favor, somewhat than let it run over them.

In a latest congressional listening to, for instance, Fb’s chief govt, Mark Zuckerberg, sheepishly proposed modifications to Part 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides platforms broad immunity for content material posted on their websites. Many observers felt, although, that Mr. Zuckerberg’s proposals have been a smoke display that will in the end profit Huge Tech corporations like Fb.

It’s high-risk, however presumably excessive reward, which has been Mr. Bezos’ model for his complete profession, even earlier than he was armed with all this energy and cash.



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