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'Alexa, I want to make a political contribution': Amazon voice assistant to take donations for 2020 presidential candidates


The company is rolling out new features ahead of the election

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon announced Wednesday that its voice-controlled assistant, known as Alexa, will soon allow customers to make campaign contributions for 2020 presidential candidates.

What are the details?

In a blog post, the company said all "2020 U.S. Presidential Candidates can sign up to receive campaign contributions via Alexa," and "starting next month, customers will be able to simply say, 'Alexa, donate to [candidate name]' to contribute up to $200 to any participating candidate's campaign fundraising efforts." There is a $5 minimum for donations.

CNN reported that customers may also donate to a participating campaign by saying, "Alexa, I want to make a political contribution."

The new donation service is part of a series of election-focused features Alexa is set to offer over the next year. Amazon explained it collaborates "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 news release added, "When it comes to news, Alexa is a conduit, not a news creator."

For the presidential campaigns that sign up to accept donations through Alexa (via Amazon Pay), Amazon will take a cut of the pie. A company spokesperson told The Washington Post (owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos) that the firm "will charge campaigns a processing fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents per donation" made via the service.

What else?

Fox News reported that Amazon has laid out some restrictions for users to make political contributions through Alexa, saying donors must be at least 18 years old, and a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident.

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