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The FTC says Jeff Bezos and Amazon execs used Signal to talk business — and it wants to know more

Jyoti Mann   

The FTC says Jeff Bezos and Amazon execs used Signal to talk business — and it wants to know more
  • Amazon execs used messaging app Signal to discuss business matters, the Federal Trade Commission said.
  • The agency wants to know if execs told Amazon staff to delete messages, and when to use Signal.

Amazon's top executives used the encrypted messaging app Signal to discuss "sensitive business matters," the Federal Trade Commission said in a court filing on Thursday.

Jeff Bezos and other senior leaders used the app from 2019 to 2022, the FTC said, and made use of its disappearing message feature.

"Amazon executives deleted many Signal messages during Plaintiffs' pre-Complaint investigation, and Amazon did not instruct employees to preserve Signal messages until over fifteen months after Amazon knew that Plaintiffs' investigation was underway," the FTC claimed in the court filing.

Some of the Amazon executives named in the filing as Signal users include CEO Andy Jassy, general counsel David Zapolsky, former worldwide consumer chief Jeff Wilke, and former worldwide operations CEO Dave Clark.

The FTC now wants to know what the execs told employees about when to use Signal and if they instructed them to delete messages.

The competition watchdog started investigating Amazon in 2019 over its business practices. The FTC says the use of Signal's disappearing messages feature might have destroyed information relevant to its investigation.

Amazon representative Tim Doyle told Business Insider in a statement that the FTC's "contentions are baseless" as the company had disclosed employees' use of the app years ago.

He added: "The FTC has a complete picture of Amazon's decision-making in this case including 1.7 million documents from sources like email, internal messaging applications, and laptops (among other sources), and over 100 terabytes of data."

The court filing includes a copy of an email that Jeff Bezos sent Mike Hopkins, the head of Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, in February 2020. The founder said, "Are you on signal messaging app? (Better way to communicate with me.)"

It also includes a screenshot of a Signal message sent by Carlo Bertucci, Amazon's VP of corporate development. It shows he sent a link in August 2020 to an article about the EU's antitrust investigation into Apple's app store.

Amazon was hit with an antitrust lawsuit by the FTC and 17 states in September, claiming it was maintaining a monopoly in the marketplace, boosting its prices, and overcharging sellers.

"Amazon also recognizes that sellers believe 'that it has become more difficult over time to be profitable on Amazon,'" the FTC filing stated.

Zapolsky previously told BI that the FTC's suit was "wrong on the facts and the law."

A court trial for the case has been set for October 2026.

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