Caixin
Sep 30, 2021 07:21 PM
BUSINESS

China Proposes Three-Year Plan to Regulate Algorithms

What’s new: China’s top regulators have published a three-year plan to regulate algorithms, furthering efforts to tighten their oversight of online businesses.

The plan establishes three main goals for algorithms: establish a sound governance mechanism, build a monitoring system to detect security risks and handle violations, and ensure their “correct, fair and transparent” use, according to a guideline (link in Chinese) released Wednesday.

The guideline was released by nine government agencies including the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and the Communist Party’s Publicity Department, which together plan to establish professional tech evaluation teams to analyze algorithm mechanisms and identify defects and loopholes in their applications.

The guideline, which also involved the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and State Administration for Market Regulation, also urged companies to “strengthen their sense of responsibility” as they will be held accountable for the consequences of their algorithm applications.

The background: Algorithms have been shaping up as a new front in China’s efforts to control big tech, though the focus has previously been on algorithm-based advertising and sales.

In January, the China Consumers Association released a 14-point document outlining the ways that data-driven algorithms impinge the rights of consumers in their interactions with large tech platforms, calling for beefed up powers for regulators.

In late August, the CAC issued a sweeping 30-point guideline (link in Chinese) that sought to regulate how algorithms run by technology firms make recommendations to users.

The guidelines targeted algorithms applications including content aggregation, personalized recommendation and search filtering.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Kelsey Cheng (kelseycheng@caixin.com) and editor Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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