Amazon has launched a probe amid claims some of its staff sold confidential customer data to third-party companies.

According to The Wall Street Journal, employees offered internal data and other personal information to independent merchants, who sell their products via the etailer’s website.

The practice is said to be particularly prevalent in China.

Brokers for Amazon staff in Shenzhen are alleged to have offered internal sales metrics, the email addresses of reviewers and the ability to delete negative reviews, in exchange for payments of up to $2,000 (£1,530).

An Amazon spokesman said the online titan was “conducting a thorough investigation” into the allegations.

A statement added: “We have zero tolerance for abuse of our systems and if we find bad actors who have engaged in this behaviour, we will take swift action against them, including terminating their selling accounts, deleting reviews, withholding funds, and taking legal action.”