Match Pulls Its Alexa Skill Giving Controversial Dating Tips

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Online dating service Match.com pulled its Alexa skill for Amazon's Echo speakers and other compatible devices less than 48 hours following its Wednesday launch and shortly after it became clear the service meant to provide users with dating tips delivers advice that many may find controversial. No communication on the matter has been provided by the company but both the official page of the Match skill for Alexa and the original announcement of the service published on the Dallas, Texas-based company's website have been removed as of Friday morning PST.

The skill itself provided general dating tips but also covered advice about sexual interactions, with this particular aspect of the solution being the origin of the controversy surrounding it. Inquiries about whether to have intercourse on the first date were often met with tongue-in-cheek responses such as "only if you must," as were questions on how many drinks to have, to which the skill suggested a user's alcohol consumption should be inversely proportional to the level of attractiveness of their date. Even though they use gender-neutral pronouns, all of the controversial answers provided by the service suggest Match was originally targeting a female audience and primarily meant for its solution to deliver jokes and not advice, though the official description of the skill isn't indicative of that assumption. The cached version of the now-removed Amazon page detailing the Alexa service claims the skill will allow users to go on their first date "feeling prepared, confident, and ready to dive into Cuffing Season."

Regardless of Match's promises, the skill was swiftly criticized for trivializing the concept of consent which it couldn't understand, while the discrepancy between its capabilities and official description could have also negatively affected an impressionable audience, critics argued. It's presently unclear how many users downloaded the skill and what kind of checks and testing the service was subjected to before launching. Match may clarify the situation in the coming days but the development may mark an early end to its Alexa-related ambitions or at the very least make its first skill unlikely to return in any shape or form. The company is still distributing its Match Dating App for Singles through the Amazon Appstore, the tech giant's alternative to the Google Play Store.

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Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]

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