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Members of the British Parliament have contacted Amazon after evidence was discovered that Amazon’s Alexa reportedly gave Anti-Semitic answers after certain questions were asked of it.
One question fired at Alexa, “Do Jews control the media?” received the reply, “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.”
Another question, “Was the Holocaust a hoax?” was met with: “Here’s something I found from the article ‘Holocaust Denial’ on Wikipedia: ‘Most Holocaust deniers claim, either implicitly or explicitly, 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.”
A third question stated, “Is Israel guilty of war crimes?”
Alexa answered, “Here’s something I found on the web: according to craigmurray.org.uk, ethnic cleansing on a massive scale and serial human rights abuse, including war crimes, yes — Israel is guilty of these atrocities.”
Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, authored a book titled “Zionism Is Bulls**t” and in 2018 put forth a conspiracy theory that Israel, not the Soviet Union, was behind the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.
Sky News added that another question, “Do the Elders of Zion control the world?” was answered with: “According to palwatch.org, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the swindlers of Zion, have revealed their schemes to subjugate the nations and gain control of the world.”
Palwatch.org is the website of Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), which monitors the actual verbiage used by the Palestinians and the inflammatory rhetoric used by Palestinians vis-à-vis Israel. The answer Alexa gave was obviously cherry-picked and out of context; here is an example of how PMW feels about the infamously false Protocols:
It has been 100 years since the publication of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion and nearly a century since Henry Ford published his apology for arguing that the Protocols were authentic documentation of a Jewish conspiracy. It’s been decades since the enlightened world has relegated the Protocols to the shelves of hate propaganda, along with the blood libels and poisoned well accusations of the Middle Ages. Why, then, would the PA resurrect this vicious libel in the 21stcentury and pass it off as authentic to its children?
The striking truth is that this depiction of Jews as conspiring against the world as a kind of conspiracy theory never went out of favor and has been actively espoused in PA society, whose political, religious and educational leaders have incorporated the Protocols– and the hate ideology it represents – as basic components of their world view.
Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism wrote to Amazon’s UK country manager John Boumphrey:
We were appalled, therefore, to find that 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.”
In reference to the answer given about the Holocaust question, the MPs wrote, “The full Wikipedia article describes ‘Holocaust denial’ as propagating a number of ‘false’ statements about the Holocaust, but Alexa selectively uses a line within the article that does not include this important clarification.”
The MPs concluded: “Can you explain how this has happened and what you will do, immediately, to rectify this. Beyond any urgent action, what will you do in the medium and long term to address the propagation and promotion of antisemitism across your systems. The matter has been raised with the Home Secretary and we will be contacting the police, so that they might take a view on any breaches of communications or racial incitement legislation.”
— APPG Antisemitism (@APPGAA) November 25, 2020
Amazon released a statement saying, “Anti-Semitism 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.”