China has not been able to curb the influence of local Internet services in the world’s most populous market. Following a series of regulatory crackdowns in recent months, the nation on Friday issued draft guidelines for regulating algorithm firms that run to make recommendations to consumers.
In a 30-point draft guideline published on Friday, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) proposed banning companies from deploying algorithms that “encourage intoxication or over-consumption” and national security. Endanger or disrupt public order.
Services must adhere to the principles of business ethics and fairness and their algorithms must not be used to create fake user accounts or create other false impressions. The watchdog said it would seek public opinion on the new guidelines for a month (until September 26).
The guidelines also suggest that users be given the ability to easily turn off 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 companies for the way they handle consumer data and the monopoly positions they assume in the country.
Earlier this year, the Beijing-backed China Consumers Association said local Internet companies were “bullying” consumers for purchases and promotions and violating their privacy rights.
Beijing’s recent crackdown on data security crackdowns and tutor services has frightened investors and laundered hundreds of billions of dollars.
Friday’s instructions appear to target Byte Dance, Alibaba Group, Tencent, and Didi and other companies whose services are above proprietary algorithms. Shares of Alibaba and Tencent fell slightly on the news.
In recent years, several governments, including the United States and India, have tried to be less successful – trying to get a better understanding of how the algorithms of these big tech companies work and check for misuse. Of