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China demands strict controls on algorithms

China demands strict controls on algorithms

China has not stopped trying to curb the power that local internet service providers have in China’s most populous country. Following a widening series of regulatory crackdowns in recent months, the nation on Friday issued draft guidelines on regulating the algorithms firms run to make recommendations to users.

In a 30-point draft guidelines published on Friday, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) proposed forbidding companies from deploying algorithms that “encourage addiction or high consumption” and endanger national security or disrupt the public order.

According to the Internet Watchdog guidelines, the services must adhere to business ethics and principles that promote fairness. Their algorithms cannot be used to create false impressions or fake accounts. According to the watchdog, it would be open for public input on new guidelines for one month (until September 26).

These guidelines recommend that algorithm recommendations should not be blocked by users. The CAC must approve algorithm providers with the potential to mobilize citizens or influence public opinion.

Friday’s proposal is coming at a moment when Beijing is increasing targeting companies because of how they handle consumer data, and for their monopolistic position in China.

Beijing-backed China Consumers Association stated earlier this year that local internet companies were “bullying” customers into buying and promoting their products and undermining users’ privacy rights.

Beijing’s recent data-security crackdown and tightening regulations around tutor services have spooked investors and wiped hundreds of billions of dollars.

ByteDance and Tencent are targeted in Friday’s guidelines. Didi, Alibaba Group and Tencent are also included. Tencent and Alibaba shares fell slightly upon the announcement.

In recent years, several governments including those in the U.S. and India have attempted — to little to no success — to get better clarity on how these big tech companies’ algorithms work and put checks in place to prevent misuse.

Publited at Fri 27 August 2021, 07:58.05 +0000

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