China Issues Draft Guidelines for Internet Recommendation Algorithms

August 27, 2021 | 2 minutes read

The draft came in as part of the wider move taken down by Beijing on its internet sector.

China has issued draft guidelines to regulate algorithms used by internet providers to make recommendations to users’, part of the program to protect users’ privacy and security of the users’. 

Service Internet providers must abide by the principles of ethics and fairness while recommending and suggesting users’ and shouldn’t set up algorithms to lure users into spending money on unnecessary things that can disrupt the public order, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement.

Algorithms should not be used to create fake user accounts and users should be given the option to easily turn off algorithm recommendation services, it said, adding that the draft is open for public feedback until September 26.

The debate has started after Beijing started a crackdown on its internet sector where authorities have been seen taking strict action against companies for violations of consumer privacy. 

Earlier this year, the Chinese Consumer Association criticized Internet companies for misusing personal data and “bullying” people into purchases and promotions. State media have since issued multiple calls for regulating the use of such algorithms.

The use of algorithms to make recommendations to consumers is a global phenomenon and internet companies around the globe use it as a tool. In China, this would include firms such as e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, ride-hailing firm Didi Global, and TikTok owner ByteDance.

China has recently passed a law to protect users’ privacy and data that will be effective from September 1st. The law regulates user’s cyberspace rights and puts the companies in check.