China proposes strict control of algorithms

China is not done with curbing the influence that local Internet services have assumed in the world’s largest populous market. Following a growing series of regulatory crackdowns in recent months, the nation on Friday issued draft guidelines on regulating the algorithms that companies run to make recommendations to users.

in a 30 Point Guidelines Draft Published on Friday, the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) proposed to bidding companies to deploy algorithms that “encourage addiction or high consumption” and endanger national security or disrupt public order.

The services must adhere to business ethics and fairness principles and their algorithms must not be used to create false user accounts or create other false impressions, said the guidelines of the Internet watchdog, which reports to a central leadership group chaired by President Xi Jinping. The watchdog said it will receive public comment on the new guidelines for a month (until Sept. 26).

The guidelines also propose that users should be provided with the ability to easily disable algorithm recommendations. Algorithm providers that have the power to influence public opinion or mobilize citizens must obtain CAC approval.

Friday’s proposal comes at a time when Beijing is increasingly targeting businesses for the way they have handled consumer data and the monopolistic positions they have taken in the nation.

Earlier this year, the Beijing-backed Consumers Association of China said local internet companies had been “intimidating” users into making purchases and promotions and undermining their privacy rights.

Beijing’s recent crackdown on data security and stricter regulations around guardian services have spooked investors and wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars.

Friday’s guidelines appear to target ByteDance, Alibaba Group, Tencent and Didi and other companies whose services are based on proprietary algorithms. Shares of Alibaba and Tencent fell slightly on the news.

In recent years, various governments, including those of the US and India, have tried, with little or no success, to gain greater clarity on how the algorithms of these big tech companies work and to establish controls to prevent use. improper.

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