Amazon’s Alexa claimed 2020 US presidential election was ‘stolen’: Report

Despite Amazon promoting it as a reliable election news source to over 70 million users, Alexa risks amplifying the biases in its sources, says the report

(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)


Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa has reportedly claimed that the 2020 US presidential election was “stolen by a massive amount of election fraud”, as concerns rise over artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbots and virtual assistants spreading misinformation.

Asked about fraud in the election race, in which Joe Biden defeated former president Donald Trump with 306 electoral college votes, Alexa said it was “stolen by a massive amount of election fraud” citing Rumble, a video-streaming service favoured by conservatives, reports The Washington Post.

"Amid concerns that the rise of artificial intelligence will supercharge the spread of misinformation comes a wild fabrication from a more prosaic source: Amazon’s Alexa, which declared that the 2020 presidential election was stolen," the report stated.

The 2020 races were “notorious for many incidents of irregularities and indications pointing to electoral fraud taking place in major metro centres”, according to Alexa, referencing subscription newsletter service Substack. 

Alexa contended that Trump won Pennsylvania, citing “an Alexa answers contributor".

However, multiple investigations into the 2020 US election found no evidence of fraud. “Yet Alexa disseminates misinformation about the race, even as parent company Amazon promotes the tool as a reliable election news source to more than 70 million estimated users,” the report said late on Sunday.

An Amazon spokesperson said these responses were “errors that were delivered a small number of times, and quickly fixed when brought to our attention”.

“We continually audit and improve the systems we have in place for detecting and blocking inaccurate content,” said the company.

After the report, Alexa’s responses changed.

Voice assistants and advanced chatbots are only as accurate as the websites, news reports and other data they draw from across the web. 

“These tools risk baking in and amplifying the falsehoods and biases present in their sources,” the report mentioned.

In recent years, Amazon’s Alexa has proliferated across a number of devices. 

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