Amazon said it will launch an investigation into its own website after a British news report found that the company’s algorithms have been recommending combinations of items that can be utilized to design and create bombs.
An investigation by the UK’s Channel 4 News found that the website listed components of firebombs as being “frequently bought together” with other bomb-making ingredients. Within the recommendation list were items such as ball bearings, which can be used as shrapnel in large, improvised explosives.
An Amazon spokesman on Wednesday released the following statement regarding the explosive revelation:
“All products sold on Amazon must adhere to our selling guidelines and we only sell products that comply with UK laws. In light of recent events, we are reviewing our website to ensure that all these products are presented in an appropriate manner. We also continue to work closely with police and law enforcement agencies when circumstances arise where we can assist their investigations.”
Amazon’s statement comes just hours before UK Prime Minister Theresa May is set to address the United Nations about the role that internet companies play in enabling terrorists.
The report also comes as internet giants are being increasingly scrutinized over the effects of their algorithms, which lead to troubling discoveries. For example, last week, ProPublica found that Facebook was allowing advertisers to target racist and anti-Semitic groups on the platform for monetary gain.
Last week, 30 people were injured in a bomb attack on a London subway train. Authorities are officially labeling the incident as a terrorist attack.
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