large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Alexa will soon let you donate to presidential candidates

Not content with playing music, checking on the weather and telling jokes, Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant now has a new trick up its sleeve: collecting money for political campaigns.

From next month, customers in the United States will be able to donate to 2020 presidential candidates with the power of their voice. The process is kicked off simply by saying “Alexa, I want to make a political contribution” or “Alexa, donate $X to [candidate name]”. The minimum acceptable amount is $5, with donations capped at $200, and the whole thing is processed via Amazon Pay, with an email receipt sent to the account holder afterwards.

Related: Amazon Echo vs Google Home

Amazon says that it “doesn’t require any technical experience” to set up, and that “all candidates are invited to make use of this technology,” although the actual explainer page waters this down to “only the principal campaign committees”.  

It’s all part of a plan to make Alexa a 2020 election hub, with Amazon training the AI with a whole bunch of new questions including “who is running for president?”, “how is [candidate name] polling?”, “who endorses [candidate name]?”, “when is the Iowa caucus?”, “how does [candidate name] stand on education?” and “when is the next debate?” 

Related: Alexa vs Google Assistant

It’s a bold move for Amazon to get Alexa so involved in the divisive world of politics. You don’t have to look very far to find people on all sides of the political spectrum complaining that Facebook, Google, Twitter and the like are censoring their side’s views. Amazon does seem aware of the potential for controversy, adding a simple disclaimer in the blog post announcing the changes: “Alexa herself does not have opinions on politics or candidates.”

“We aim to provide the most relevant, accurate, and timely information about elections and candidates,” the post reads. “We federate across hundreds of information sources, and we collaborate with nonpartisan organisations to provide customers with information on polls, ballots, results and more.”

Is allowing for simple donations like this a good idea, or should Amazon stay away from politics? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.