An owner of an Amazon Alexa home assistant is claiming that the device issued a sick challenge to her 10-year-old daughter. In a video posted online, when the Amazon device was asked for a “challenge,” Alexa replied: “The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs,” tempting the child to electrocute herself.
Indy100 reports that a woman named Kristin Livdahl recently posted a story about her Amazon Alexa home assistant to Twitter. Livdahl claimsthat when her 10-year-old daughter asked the device for “a challenge” to do, the device instructed her daughter to poke metal into a power outlet.
OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. pic.twitter.com/HgGgrLbdS8
— Kristin Livdahl (@klivdahl) December 26, 2021
The Alexa device told the child: “Here’s something I found on the web. According to ourcommunitynow.com: The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
It appears that Alexa automatically searched the web for “a challenge” and received what was likely a sarcastic response posted on an internet forum. However, this shows the dangers of allowing the devices to grab information from any random online source and then spew it out to a child using the device.
Users on Twitter were quick to note why this was an issue, with one user stating: “Companies should really know better than to put unfiltered question answering systems live on the internet. Google does this in their summaries too, and they similarly have shocking/dangerous results like this periodically.”
Others joked about the situation, “I suspected Alexa was evil. Just didn’t suspect Alexa was this evil,” another user wrote.
Amazon Help appeared to notice Livdahl’s issue on Twitter and responded to her tweet:
Hi there. We're sorry to hear this! Please reach out to us directly via the following link so that we can look into this further with you: https://t.co/YlLYrTtGzy. We hope this helps. -Daragh
— Amazon Help (@AmazonHelp) December 27, 2021
An Amazon spokesperson told Indy100: “Customer trust is at the center of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers. As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it.”
Read more at Indy100 here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org