I only learned this week that Jeff Bezos is on Instagram.

His first post that I paid attention to: a Super Bowl selfie with Lizzo, and the caption: "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% @lizzobeeating's biggest fan. #SBLIV"

OK, maybe that's unexpected for a multibillionaire. Maybe not.

I came across it simply because Amazon broke the $1 trillion market cap barrier for the first time, not long after Bezos's net worth literally increased by $13.2 billion in a matter of minutes. So, Bezos was trending.

But that didn't prepare me for what came after. His next post was a little long, but we should quote it in full. It starts with a photo that just reads, "Business Question." 


Let's say you're at a big cocktail party and someone you don't know comes up to you while you're talking to your dad and girlfriend and asks for a meeting. Let's say this person is the kind of person who actually uses the word "minions" to describe the people who work for you.

How do you respond:

A) Yes, I'll definitely meet with you.
B) No, I won't meet with you.
C) Tell you what. Call so and so and they'll work something out.
D) Quietly resolve to become a shut-in.
E) Something else (fill in the blank)

A Seinfeld "Serenity Now!" button (second pic) for whoever comes up with the best answer.

Maybe you read something sometimes, and you think: Wow, I'll bet I'm missing some serious context.

Apparently that's the case here.

And it actually relates to something very serious.

Last year, I wrote about Amazon's reaction to a truly insane issue: the high amount of counterfeiting on the site, which Amazon was forced to address in an earnings call. 

My former colleague Deb Copaken tackled this in The Atlantic after a personal experience, accidentally buying a knockoff Canada Goose jacket for something like $925.

Amazon reacted. It launched something called Project Zero, intended to help brands indentify and ban illegal knockoffs.

Was it enough? It turns out the Trump administration doesn't think so.

Here's the history in three bullet points:

  • Last month the Department of Homeland Security published a 54-page report called "Combating Trafficking in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods," that alleged "e-commerce giants such as Amazon have become marketplaces for counterfeiters, undermining U.S. firms and hurting consumers," according to The Washington Post.
  • Fast forward to January 25, at a Washington dinner at the Alfalfa Club, where White House adviser Peter Navarro "approached Bezos and pressed him for a meeting."
  • Navarro claims Bezos agreed to meet, but later tried to push him off onto other Amazon executives, which left Navarro "fuming." The story wound up recounted (how, I shall not speculate) in the Post.

A day or so later? Bezos's "Business Question" post.

The Post followed up quickly with another article quoting Navarro, who called it, a "wonderfully banal passive aggressive post."

The paper, which Bezos owns, pointed out that on the same night Bezos spoke with Navarro he also hosted Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Kellyanne Conway at a party at his house in Washington.

There's no resolution here that I'm aware of. But it's wild to watch this play out.

President Trump is, bar none, the political force who has propelled the renewed success of Twitter. 

Could Bezos do the same for Instagram?

Given it's been a few days now from his post, maybe he's not trying to win that battle. 

But sometimes it's enough to show that you could.