News World Amazon reviews algorithm after recommending bomb ingredients to customers
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Amazon reviews algorithm after recommending bomb ingredients to customers

Amazon is reviewing its algorithm following revelations it recommended bomb-making ingredients be purchased together.
Amazon is reviewing its algorithm following revelations it recommended bomb-making ingredients be purchased together. Photo: Getty
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Retail giant Amazon is reviewing its online store’s algorithm after it recommended customers buy bomb ingredients together.

The ingredients were being recommended together under the “frequently bought together” and “customers who bought this item also bought” sections, Britain’s Channel 4 News revealed.

The items are innocent on their own but can be put together to create potentially deadly chemical explosives.

On Tuesday, The New Daily was able to find the ingredients for black powder and thermite on Amazon, and confirmed chemicals were recommended for purchase together.

The New Daily chose not to name or picture the labels for the items.

Other materials that could be used in bomb making, including ball bearings, ignition systems and remote detonators, were freely available on the site, and some of them were suggested to be bought with the chemicals.

“All products sold on Amazon must adhere to our selling guidelines and we only sell products that comply with UK laws,” the company said in a statement released Thursday morning (AEST).

“In light of recent events, we are reviewing our website to ensure that all these products are presented in an appropriate manner.”

The company said it would also continue to work closely with police and law enforcement agencies when circumstances arise where we can assist their investigations.

The recommendations are determined by an algorithm to guide shoppers to the items they are most likely looking to purchase, based on items frequently bought together.

Amazon bomb explosives algorithm frequently bought together
The recommendations are determined by an algorithm. Photo: Amazon

The algorithm uses the purchase history of shoppers to suggest additional items to customers who are yet to finalise their order. By presenting the products that previous shoppers have purchased together, Amazon hopes to offer relevant items and increase the number of things it sells to each user.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Attorney-General’s Department told The New Daily that businesses selling chemical products “should have security measures in place to identify suspicious transactions”.

The revelation came in the days after an explosion of what appeared to be a home-made bomb on a London Underground train on Friday injured 30 people.

Pictures on social media after the attack showed what appeared to be a device contained in a white plastic bucket. It engulfed the railway carriage in flames, although it appeared that it did not fully explode.

Suspicious transactions of chemical products should be reported to the Australian National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400 or to police.

-with AAP

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