Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant will start taking donations to 2020 presidential candidates
Amazon recently announced that its voice assistant Alexa can now sign business agreements with health providers under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
“Alexa, I want to make a political contribution.”
Starting in October, users of Amazon’s voice-controlled home assistant, Alexa, will be able to verbally make a political contribution between $5 and $200 to a participating 2020 presidential candidate, the company announced Wednesday.
In order to use the new Alexa Political Contributions feature, users must have voice purchasing enabled in their Alexa settings, as well as valid default payment method in their Amazon accounts.
“Alexa, donate [amount] to [candidate name]” is another phrase users can say to support a preferred political hopeful.
A donation can be made per registered campaign for each election cycle, the company said. Contributions can only be made to presidential campaigns that have set up accounts to accept donations through Amazon Pay.
“All candidates are invited to make use of this technology,” Amazon said. “On-boarding is simple and doesn’t require any technical experience.”
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. (David Ryder/Getty Images)
If the campaign meets qualifications, it can register for Amazon Pay and accept donations.
Campaigns can sign up to participate in Alexa Political Contributions as of Thursday, the company said.
Amazon spokeswoman Kerry Hall told The Washington Post the company will charge campaigns a 2.9 percent processing fee, plus 30 cents per donation.
While any Alexa user can make a donation, the company detailed some restrictions, saying users must be at least 18 and a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident. Donations must be made in the user’s own name with their own funds using a personal payment method.
Users will also be able to set up a verification code that Alexa would require before the contribution is confirmed, but it will be optional, Hall said.
Amazon will not report directly to the FEC or make donor information public, but the company will provide the donor’s name, email address and physical address to the campaigns, Hall noted.
Amazon announced Alexa Political Contributions this week and also highlighted the device’s other functions to help users prepare for the upcoming 2020 presidential election, saying Alexa is an “objective source for elections information.”
“We aim to provide the most relevant, accurate and timely information about elections and candidates,” Amazon said. “We federate across hundreds of information sources, and we collaborate with nonpartisan organizations to provide customers with information on polls, ballots, results and more.”
“Alexa herself does not have opinions on politics or candidates,” the company added.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased The Washington Post in 2013.