According to a report from the BBC, it seems that when a 10-year old girl asked the digital assistant for a “challenge to do”, it told her, “Plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.” Yup, Amazon’s digital assistant basically challenged a kid to electrocute themselves.
To be fair, Alexa doesn’t actually come up with these challenges and sources them from the web where it looks for challenges that other people are doing or have done before. This particular challenge, known as the penny challenge, was circulating on TikTok and other social media platforms about a year ago, which fire department officials have condemned.
According to Amazon, when they found out about it, they took action and removed it. In a statement made to the BBC, “Customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers. As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it.”