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A child requesting a challenge from an Amazon Alexa device was asked to “plug in a phone charger about halfway and then touch a crown to the bare legs.”
The dangerous search result came up thanks to something called “the penny challenge” that went viral on TikTok sometime the year before. Alexa will answer general queries with a web search, but there is no guarantee as to where this result is coming from.
“We made some physical challenges, like lying down and toppling over with a shoe on your foot, from a teacher on YouTube earlier,” the child’s mother said on Twitter. “Bad weather outside. She just wanted one more.”
According to a report from BBC, the mother was present and could ask Alexa to stop when she heard what it said. However, she claimed that her daughter was smart enough to know better than to perform such a dangerous task.
“Customer trust is at the heart of everything we do, and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant and useful information to customers,” Amazon said in a statement. “As soon as we became aware of this error, we took prompt action to correct it.”
Smart assistants like Google and Alexa are known to have different skills accessing information on the most unfiltered web. While there seem to be some sort of reliable sources for these devices, it is clear that some bad actors are still coming through.