Amazon's Alexa Is 'Having Trouble Understanding Right Now'

A file photo of an Amazon Echo device. Adobe

Alexa? Are you there?

Amazon Echo devices weren't working across the country Friday in what appeared to be an Alexa-related outage.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying that her department is merely following laws. Speaking at a White House briefing Monday, Nielsen said the issue has been growing for years, the product of loopholes that have created an open border.

(Published Monday, June 18, 2018)

Some users who posed questions to the voice-activated and internet-connected personal assistants were being told the devices weren't working, with phrases like, "Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding right now. Please try a little later."

The website DownDetector, which tracks web outages, noted a spike in problems with the Alexa service starting at 9:39 a.m. ET. The number of reports dropped dramatically around 2:00 p.m. ET.

NBC has reached out to Amazon to inquire about the possible outage.

Celebrities like Cardi B and Anthony Hopkins haven't started taking over for Alexa in real time, as Amazon's Super Bowl ad proposed.