MP says Amazon’s Alexa gives ‘disturbing’ answers about the Holocaust and Jews
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

MP says Amazon’s Alexa gives ‘disturbing’ answers about the Holocaust and Jews

Conservative Friends of Israel vice-chair Andrew Percy MP posts video on Twitter asking it whether the Elders of Zion control the world and if the Shoah was a hoax

Alexa (Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash)
Alexa (Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash)

MPs have asked Home Secretary Priti Patel to act after Amazon’s Alexa smart-speaker was found to give “disturbing” antisemitic answers to questions about the Holocaust and Jews controlling the world.

The issue was raised on Wednesday by Conservative Friends of Israel vice-chair Andrew Percy MP after discovering that the algorithm-led home assistant answered queries with reference to antisemitic texts and websites.

Asked whether the Elders of Zion control the world, Alexa replies with reference to the notorious antisemitic forgery – the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – saying the Jewish “swindlers… have revealed their schemes to subjugate the nations and gain control of the world”.

Asked whether the Holocaust was a hoax, the software quotes Wikipedia, saying deniers claim it arises from “a deliberate Jewish conspiracy designed to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other people”.

Watch a video of Andrew Percy asking Alexa whether the “elders of Zion control the world”:

 

Meanwhile, when asked whether Jews control the media, Alexa quotes from ‘Jew Watch’ which claims that “Jews control the world’s financial systems and media”, and when asked whether Israel is a “racist state” the Alexa quotes a non-Amazon website – “Israel is and will remain a racist Jewish state”.

Percy, who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, said he was “deeply alarmed” to hear how Amazon’s cloud-based voice service was answering questions and urged Patel to contact Amazon and “immediately investigate how they select their material and sources”.

He said Amazon’s Alexa was “quoting antisemitic conspiracy websites and using selective quotes from other sources which are misleading without further explanation” and described it as “disturbing content” that violates the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance working definition of antisemitism.

In a statement to Jewish news, an Amazon spokesperson said: “Antisemitism 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.”

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments