Auditing the Information Quality of News-Related Queries on the Alexa Voice Assistant

Henry Kudzanai Dambanemuya, Nicholas Diakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Smart speakers are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in society and are now used for satisfying a variety of information needs, from asking about the weather or traffic to accessing the latest breaking news information. Their growing use for news and information consumption presents new questions related to the quality, source diversity, and comprehensiveness of the news-related information they convey. These questions have significant implications for voice assistant technologies acting as algorithmic information intermediaries, but systematic information quality audits have not yet been undertaken. To address this gap, we develop a methodological approach for evaluating information quality in voice assistants for news-related queries. We demonstrate the approach on the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, first characterising Alexa's performance in terms of response relevance, accuracy, and timeliness, and then further elaborating analyses of information quality based on query phrasing, news category, and information provenance. We discuss the implications of our findings for future audits of information quality on voice assistants and for the consumption of news information via such algorithmic intermediaries more broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number83
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW1
StatePublished - Apr 22 2021


  • algorithmic accountability
  • audit framework
  • information quality
  • voice assistants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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