Lawmakers Pressure Amazon to Censor Alexa’s So-Called ‘Election Misinformation’

October 24th, 2023 5:40 PM

A duo of lawmakers have joined in, once again, to pressure Amazon to censor so-called “election misinformation” on its Alexa voice assistant tool.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. Joseph Morelle (D-NY) sent Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos a letter on Oct. 19 accusing Amazon Alexa of questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election. Notably, Alexa had relied on sources from media platforms Rumble and Substack to support its analysis.

The lawmakers, however, claimed that Alexa “cited unvetted sources to make false claims about election fraud.” The letter specifically cited an article by The Washington Post  about the in-home assistant and asked what “additional protections” and policies Amazon is implementing “to address the spread and amplification of election misinformation and disinformation by Alexa,” an apparent request for censorship.

But to MRC Free Speech America Director Michael Morris, the lawmakers’ focus is misplaced. “Notice what the lawmakers didn’t address concerning Big Tech assistant Alexa?” Morris questioned. “Freedom and privacy. In-home assistants have been known to creep on the very users they were created to help, and Big Tech giants — including Amazon — have repeatedly censored American voices. Instead of attempting to silence information that runs counter to the left’s narrative, lawmakers on the Hill should be protecting Americans from Big Tech’s privacy and speech abuses.”  

Klobuchar and Morelle’s letter began, “As we approach the 2024 elections, we write to express serious concern about recent reporting that Amazon Alexa – a virtual voice assistant tool relied upon by millions of Americans – is repeating false claims about the outcome of the 2020 elections and to request information about your efforts to combat this troubling content.”

The lawmakers ended the two-page letter with questions for Amazon, including how the tech giant deals with the “spread and amplification of election misinformation and disinformation by Alexa” and how it “improve[s] the accuracy of information repeated by Alexa.” They further asked how Amazon vets contributor responses and what procedures there are for raising “concerns or complaints of misinformation shared by Alexa.”

Klobuchar and Morelle even added seemingly direct pressure to censor: “In advance of the 2024 elections, what additional protections does Amazon intend to implement to prevent the spread of election misinformation and disinformation?” Preventing alleged “misinformation” requires censorship.

Klobuchar has a long history of urging increased censorship. For instance, during a 2021 Senate hearing, Klobuchar specifically called on Facebook to institute a ban on so-called “vaccine misinformation” similar to YouTube’s restrictive ban. She also touted a bill in 2022 by claiming it would help address so-called “misinformation.”

The original Post article noted that Alexa’s responses changed after a Post inquiry, but hysterically alleged some “questions still prompt the device to say there was election fraud in 2020.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand government agencies and Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.