To avoid the spread of incorrect news, Amazon has removed all Coronavirus Alexa skills.
“In an effort to ensure accuracy and consistency of information shared with our customers, we are limiting skills about COVID-19 at this time. As such, your skill has been removed from the catalog. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.”Amazon wrote to Voice First Health’s Dr. Teri Fisher about why the company removed his Coronavirus Doc Alexa Skill.
ALEXA LIMITS SKILLS
In these difficult weeks because of Covid-19, people are looking for information everywhere to get news about this tragedy that has hit the whole world. A search for keywords for coronavirus in Monday’s Alexa Skill store has developed several voice apps on the subject. Each one with particular attention to ways to prevent infection and details on how the virus spreads.
Another research on Tuesday was how to wash your hands. All the others seem to have been eliminated from the store, although many published ebooks are available for purchase. The Coronavirus protection section above sends you directly to the relevant part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
The same goes for new Alexa abilities. Dr. Fisher received a very similar email about Coronavirus’s suggestions that Alexa Skill had recently sent. It doesn’t matter if the skills were accurate and useful; Amazon is wiping the Alexa Skill store as clean as the remaining skills want your hands to be.
Amazon took longer to block voice apps that mention coronavirus than Google. Their competitors instead, pulled coronavirus on Google Assistant Actions almost a week ago. The panorama of the voice assistant as a whole is changing from our experiment by asking different voice assistants for coronavirus.
As the pandemic has become more severe, accurate information is crucial. Amazon appears to be wrong from a cautionary point of view but it’s unclear if something happened. Something that pushed Amazon’s policy to change or maybe it had been in operation for a while before implementation.