AMAZON has been accused of spreading antisemitic conspiracy theories by several British MPs.
The politicians claim Amazon Alexa smart speakers are blurting out hate speech and have called for immediate action.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Against Antisemitism wrote a letter to Amazon’s UK chief demanding something be done about the antisemitic comments they uncovered.
The letter states: “Answers to enquiries provided by these services are presented as authoritative and factual, and so carry credibility, with many considering them truthful.
“We were appalled, therefore, to find that the ‘Alexa’ voice service offers messages from antisemitic websites and conspiracy theories, using selective quotes and misleading sources in answer to a number of questions about Jewish people, the Holocaust and antisemitism.”
MPs who have signed the letter include Andrew Percy, Catherine McKinnell and Dr Lisa Cameron.
Amazon is investigating the problemCredit: Alamy
It has been tweeted in full on the APPG Twitter account.
The letter gives several examples of Alexa quoting from unreliable sources and Holocaust denying websites.
When asked “Do Jews control the media?”, Alexa reportedly responded: “Here’s something I found from the article ‘Jew Watch’ on Wikipedia: Jew Watch claims that Jews control the world’s financial systems and media.”
The MPs asked Amazon to address the issue regarding antisemitism now and in the long term.
The letter explains that the Home Secretary has been informed.
It adds: “We will be contacting the police, so that they might take a view on any breaches of communications or racial incitement legislation.”
An Amazon spokesperson told us: “Anti-Semitism and discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Alexa pulls from a variety of sources to respond to questions—we are investigating this and have blocked the responses reported.”
What is Alexa?
If you’ve never heard of Alexa, here’s what you need to know…
- Alexa is an “intelligent” personal assistant built by Amazon.
- You can find her on several different devices, including Amazon’s Echo speakers.
- Alexa responds to voice commands, and can talk back to you.
- She can perform thousands of different tasks, including telling you about the news or weather.
- But she can do more complex things too, like ordering a pizza or arranging an Uber taxi pick-up.
- To activate Alexa, you need to say “Alexa” to an Amazon Echo speaker.
- Because she’s powered by artificial intelligence, Alexa is constantly getting smarter.
- Alexa will also get more used to your voice, and better understand what you want her to do over time.
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Do you have concerns about Amazon Alexa? Let us know in the comments…
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