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

At first, it appeared like a bonkers technique, and I instantly bought quite a few texts from excessive stage 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 inner frustrations drive exterior messaging. Complete 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 suppose his intention was to affect the union vote in Alabama. As a substitute, the aim was to goad progressives into proposing laws round issues like information privateness and a $15 federal minimal wage that Mr. Bezos is aware of can not 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 countless and largely ineffective hearings about how one can cope with 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 may need on its staff. It’s an angle 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, relatively than let it run over them.

In a current congressional listening to, for instance, Fb’s chief govt, Mark Zuckerberg, sheepishly proposed adjustments 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 screen that may finally profit Large Tech firms like Fb.

It’s high-risk, however probably 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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