Brussels: The European Union is looking at Amazon.com Inc.’s use of data it collects from other retailers on its platform, with the possibility that the information gives it an extra edge for its own sales, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The investigation is at an early stage with regulators “trying to understand this issue in full," Vestager told reporters at a press conference in Brussels. Regulators have sent “quite a number of questionnaires" to companies to gather information on Amazon’s “dual purpose" as a retailer and a host to other retailers.

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“The question here is about the data" Amazon collects from smaller merchants on its site, Vestager said. “Do you then also use this data to do your own calculations, as to what is the new big thing, what is it that people want, what kind of offers do they like to receive, what makes them buy things? That has made us start a preliminary" investigation, she said.

Amazon declined to immediately comment.

Amazon has been targeted by the European Commission over its tax arrangements with Luxembourg. It escaped fines in a 2016 EU settlement over e-books contracts with publishers.

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The EU is separately pushing ahead with new legislation that aims to prevent web firms from offering unfair terms to small businesses that sell or promote their services on the platforms. Under the new rules, platforms would also have to provide more transparency about how they rank businesses in search results.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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