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Monique Curet
By Monique Curet April 13, 2022

Chemtrails are not real, no matter what Alexa says

If Your Time is short

So-called “chemtrails” are not real, according to atmospheric chemists and geochemists.

We did not elicit the exact same answer from Alexa, but when asked the same question, Alexa replied with a similar conspiracy theory. 

Amazon’s virtual, voice-activated assistant Alexa can dish out everything from weather to music — and conspiracy theories, too.

A TikTok video suggests that Alexa confirmed so-called chemtrails are being used to reduce the human population.

The video showed a woman asking Alexa, "What is the purpose of spraying chemtrails?" Alexa answered, "Chemtrails are being sprayed across the entire planet, not just here in America, to accomplish many goals. The main one being to reduce the human population of the earth."

The TikTok video was shared on Facebook on April 6 and was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Despite Alexa’s answer, "chemtrails" are not real. They are a conspiracy theory that claims that the condensation trails behind aircrafts are part of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program.

Following a 2016 survey of atmospheric chemists and geochemists, a resulting study said that "well-understood physical and chemical processes" debunk the alleged evidence for chemtrails.

For this story, we asked Alexa the same question from the TikTok video, "What is the purpose of spraying chemtrails?" Alexa answered, "The purpose of chemtrails might be weather control, solar radiation control or testing of various agents on people, flora or fauna."

People who spread the chemtrails conspiracy theory cite varying alleged purposes for them, including weather modification, chemical or biological weapons testing and manipulating stock prices by damaging crops.

It’s not the first time Alexa has been spotlighted for giving dubious answers about chemtrails. In 2018, stories reported that when asked, "What’s a chemtrail?" Alexa answered that they are "chemical or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for a purpose undisclosed to the general public in clandestine programs directed by government officials."

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At that time, Mashable reported that an Amazon representative said it was an error that had been corrected.

We reached out to Amazon for comment about the TikTok video, and a spokesperson said, "Alexa pulls from a variety of sources to respond to questions. We have blocked this response and are continually advancing our systems to ensure Alexa is accurate, relevant and helpful to customers."

In the past, when other videos made claims about Alexa responses that could not be replicated by others, Amazon gave a few explanations for why it might have happened. For example, customers can record and schedule responses for Alexa, which would only play on that customer’s device. Or users also can access templates for trivia games, birthday cards and flashcards to create automated questions and responses.

Amazon also has a program called Alexa Answers that allows anyone to provide answers for Alexa to read aloud. The company said it vets the answers, but "a dedicated number of Alexa Answers pranksters have spent untold hours flooding the service with obvious trash," Mashable reported.

We searched the Alexa Answers online database for the keyword "chemtrails." In response to the question, "why are they spraying chemtrails," a user had provided the answer, "Various different motivations for this alleged spraying are speculated, including sterilization, reduction of life expectancy, mind control or weather control."

Our ruling

A TikTok video suggests that Alexa’s answer to a question about chemtrails confirmed they are being used to reduce the human population.

Chemtrails are not real, and scientists say "well-understood physical and chemical processes" debunk the alleged evidence for them.

There are several reasons Alexa might have provided the response, but none of those reasons validate the claim in this widely debunked conspiracy theory.

Though Alexa provided an answer about chemtrails being used for depopulation, it does not confirm that chemtrails are real. We rate the claim False. 

 

Our Sources

Alexa Answers, "Chemtrails," accessed April 13, 2022

Email interview, Amazon spokesperson, April 13, 2022

Facebook post, April 6, 2022

Mashable, "Amazon Alexa spouted conspiracy theory when asked about chemtrails," April 11, 2018

Mashable, "Amazon lets anyone answer Alexa questions. Trolls are loving it," Feb. 23, 2022

Observer, "Amazon Alexa Echoed Alex Jones by Telling Users Chemtrails Were Real," April 12, 2018

PolitiFact, "Claim that U.S. government is spraying ‘toxic brew of chemicals’ from airplanes is a conspiracy," Feb. 2, 2022

PolitiFact, "No, Amazon’s Alexa doesn’t say 'the government' planned the coronavirus pandemic," April 16, 2020

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Chemtrails are not real, no matter what Alexa says

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