China issues preliminary guidelines for Internet recommendation algorithms

China has published draft guidelines on regulating the algorithms used by Internet service providers to make recommendations to users, part of efforts to protect the privacy and security of users’ data, the Internet regulator said on Friday. fair.

Service providers must respect business ethics and principles of fairness and must not create algorithmic models that induce users to spend large amounts of money or spend it in a way that could disrupt public order, said the Cyberspace Administration from China in a statement.

The algorithms should not be used to create fake user accounts and users should have the option to easily turn off algorithm recommendation services, he said, adding that the draft is open for public feedback until Sept. 26.

The move comes amid a widespread Beijing crackdown on its Internet sector, which has seen authorities attack and punish companies on issues ranging from monopolistic behavior to consumer privacy.

Earlier this year, the Chinese Consumer Association criticized Internet companies for misusing personal data and “bullying” people into shopping and promotions. Since then, state media has issued several calls to regulate the use of such algorithms.

Internet companies use algorithms globally to predict user preferences and make recommendations. In China, this would include companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, firm Didi Global and TikTok owner ByteDance.

China recently passed a data security law that will go into effect on Sept. 1 to protect Internet users’ rights in cyberspace and impose restrictions on its growing Internet industry.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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