Amazon's 'frequently bought together' section pops up on any item, showing what other people have purchased alongside the item you're looking at. Sometimes these suggestions are downright bizarre or inappropriate, but, it turns out, they can also be incredibly dangerous. Chemicals with innocent, household uses are being coupled with ingredients that, when combined, can make a homemade explosive device.
While the items on their own are harmless, the fact that Amazon is suggesting them together is a big red flag. Things like steel ball bearings — known to be used as makeshift shrapnel — connectors and push button switches are being shown as related items for certain chemical components. These suggestions are not manual — they're automated via an algorithm which monitors what combination of items people regularly add to their basket.
The ingredients to create black powder were also readily grouped together for customers to easily purchase. In a report from Channel 4 News, their team were able to create a shopping basked that contained ingredients to make up to 45kg of black powder — but UK law states an individual can only make 100g of black powder for private use.
Amazon is now coming under fire as the retail giant makes it incredibly easy for these materials to get into the wrong hands with seemingly no checks on the combinations of items people are checking out with. The company has said they will work with the police and assist investigations however they can. [Channel 4]