Amazon’s supposed smart-home device is reciting antisemitic conspiracies, including relating to the Holocaust, TMZ reported Friday.
Claims about the virtual assistant’s hateful remarks come from the U.K.’s All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, which alleges “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,” according to a letter the APPG sent to Amazon and Amazon UK, as shared on Twitter.
When Alexa was asked, for instance, “Do Jews control the media?” the device allegedly 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 response offered by Alexa is a longstanding but false conspiracy theory that has helped to fuel antisemitism.
The letter lays out additional disturbing responses by Alexa when asked about Jewish stereotypes.
Among those horrendous responses was Alexa’s take on the Holocaust, in which 6 million European Jews were systematically murdered during World War II. The Holocaust also saw millions of other marginalized groups murdered, including gay citizens, the Roma, Soviets, disabled people and more.
When asked whether the years-long genocide was a hoax, Alexa reportedly answered: “Here’s something I found from the article ‘Holocaust Denial’ on Wikipedia: ‘Most Holocaust deniers claim, either explicitly or implicitly, that the Holocaust is a hoax — or an exaggeration — arising from a deliberate Jewish conspiracy designed to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other people.”
Though the Wikipedia article, as noted by APPG, highlights that Holocaust denial perpetuates falsehoods about the Holocaust, “Alexa selectively uses a line within the article that does not include this important clarification.”
The group, which also addressed the home secretary and intends to contact authorities, called on Amazon to explain how this happened and what the company intends to do to rectify it.
Given the rise in smart-home device usage, the group said, “answers to enquiries provided by these services are presented as authoritative and factual, and so carry credibility, with many considering them truthful.”
“We have a zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory and offensive content,” an Amazon spokesperson told TMZ. “When we detect this type of content, we actively investigate and block responses that don’t meet our policy, as we did in this case.”