The first reports of the laughter began to surface over the weekend.
Follow-up mode works by letting Alexa continue listening for up to five seconds after an initial command. "We are changing that phrase to be 'Alexa, can you laugh?' which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance 'Alexa, laugh'".
The Alexa team has also disabled the phrase "Alexa, laugh" as a trigger.
That's all well and good, but the problem is that people reporting these incidents have said the laughing occurs in silent rooms when there's no way the home assistant could have accidentally misheard a command. Being the noble and loyal house companion that she is, Alexa complied and sent out the creepy burst of laughter that's freaked out so many Echo and Alexa-enabled devices. The random laughter has been described as creepy, evil and bone-chilling. Amazon says Alexa will only respond to a follow-up commands if she's "confident" that it is a legitimate request and not just background noise.
For example, there have been reports of the digital assistant randomly whistling as well as ordering items without any direction from the owner, which is even more concerning. The one about listing cemeteries, in particular, I hope is not true.
According to market research company eMarketer, 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated digital assistant device at least once a month in 2017.