When Facebook’s data practices began dominating the news last month, The Washington Post, like many other news organizations, was eager to share the story. Post reporters churned out at least 39 stories about Facebook in the week following the Congressional hearings with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The extensive coverage was justified, as the issues at play are not trivial. But the debate is not just about Facebook, it’s about how intimately big tech companies surveil users; a practice which is central to big tech’s continued growth.
One of the companies that profits most from closely tracking users is Amazon. The company’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is far and away the richest man alive, worth an estimated $132 billion. And since 2013, Bezos has owned The Washington Post (which he bought for $250 million).
Bezos’s ownership of the Post has caught the ire of President Trump, who has falsely accused the newspaper of being Amazon’s “lobbyist.” Trump’s targeting of the “Amazon Washington Post” has led many to come to the newspaper’s defense, and rightfully so. But still, there’s a question as to whether the Post has been soft on Amazon, like in its coverage of the jurisdictional bidding war to land Amazon’s second headquarters.
Even so, at least the Post has regularly informed readers of Bezos’s ties to Amazon when reporting on the company. In the week following Zuckerberg’s testimony,…