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Lawmakers Demand Amazon Censors Alexa After WaPo Complains Its Responses Referenced Rumble, Substack

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Lawmakers are demanding that Amazon take “proactive measures” to ensure that its voice assistant, Alexa, doesn’t provide “false claims about the outcome of the 2020 elections” after a Washington Post article complained that Alexa was citing responses from Rumble and Substack.

The Washington Post’s original October 7 article took issue with Amazon using what it deemed to be “unvetted sources” and the potential for voice assistants to spread “misinformation.” It included examples of Alexa responses that alleged election fraud and referenced Rumble and Substack.

Amazon had already implemented censorship measures in response to the original article and said that it “continually” audits and improves its systems for “detecting and blocking inaccurate content.”

But Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY) are still concerned that Alexa may cite information that doesn’t come from “verified news sources” in some of its responses, and have sent a letter to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The letter cites the Washington Post’s October 7 article, demands that Amazon take “proactive measures” to censor Alexa responses, and calls for Amazon to provide information on how it plans to further censor Alexa responses.

Specifically, the letter demands that Amazon provide information on:

  • Its existing policy to “address the spread and amplification of election misinformation and disinformation by Alexa”
  • The steps that have been taken to “improve the accuracy of information repeated by Alexa”
  • How it’s “vetting responses from contributors, particularly responses pertaining to our elections”
  • “Additional protections” that it intends to implement ahead of the 2024 elections to “prevent the spread of election misinformation and disinformation”
  • Procedures that allow users to “raise concerns or complaints of misinformation shared by Alexa”

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

Not only is this letter suggesting that the tech giant Amazon should censor Alexa’s responses because a legacy media outlet took issue with some of the responses referring to the alternative free speech platforms Rumble and Substack, but this particular legacy media outlet has strong ties to Amazon. The Washington Post is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, and its interim CEO, Patty Stonesifer, sits on Amazon’s board.

Furthermore, the suggestion that Amazon should censor opinions about the 2020 presidential election has been selectively applied to this election. During the 2016 presidential election, legacy media outlets were given free rein to question the results on Big Tech platforms.

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