This challenge would have been a shocking experience.
Amazon announced it would amend its Alexa software not to include physical challenges drawn from search results that encourage children to touch electrical wall outlets with pennies in recommended searches.
"Customer trust is at the center 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," Amazon told the Washington Examiner.
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Writer Kristin Livdahl claimed on Twitter that Alexa encouraged their child to plug a phone charger halfway into a wall outlet, then drop a penny between the two prongs.
OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. pic.twitter.com/HgGgrLbdS8— Kristin Livdahl (@klivdahl) December 26, 2021
The challenge arose while Livdahl attempted to provide physical exercises for her daughter.
"We were doing some physical challenges, like laying down and rolling over holding a shoe on your foot, from a [physical education] teacher on YouTube earlier," she said. "Bad weather outside. She just wanted another one."
So, Alexa recommended the penny challenge.
The penny challenge arose on Tik Tok in January 2020 when several viral videos encouraged viewers to slide a penny between two electric prongs, creating a shower of sparks.
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Fire marshals have condemned the challenge.
"This video is a concern and similar to past viral videos that encourage unsafe behavior," Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey told the Boston Globe. At least two incidents were reported in Massachusetts, with participants being charged with attempted arson.
Thankfully, Livdahl's daughter did not consider the challenge.
"My daughter says she is too smart to do something like that anyway," Livdahl tweeted.