Beijing has once again devised a way to protect Chinese children from the deleterious effects of technology like TikTok: China's Cyberspace Administration will start closely regulating algorithms like the TikTok content recommendation algorithm start.
A draft of the rules was released back in August. But according to the final version released Tuesday, the rules forbid practices that encourage addiction or high consumption as well as any activities that endanger national security.
According to the Internet Information Service Algorithm Recommendation Management Regulations: "In recent years, algorithm applications have injected new momentum into political, economic, and social development. At the same time, problems caused by algorithm discrimination, 'big data killing,' and inducing indulgence in the unreasonable application of algorithms have also profoundly affected the normal communication order and market order."
Algorithms like the TikTok algorithm creates problems like social order poses challenges to safeguarding ideological security, social fairness and justice, and the legitimate rights and interests of netizens. The introduction of targeted algorithm recommendation rules and regulations in the field of Internet information services is a need to prevent and resolve security risks, and it is also a need to promote the healthy development of algorithm recommendation services and improve the level of supervision capabilities.
The decision to crack down on social media companies that harvest user data in this way comes as Beijing struggles to protect user data. Chinese tech companies use algorithm technology for a wide range of applications, from recommending content to users on e-commerce and short video platforms to offering efficient food delivery services. However, companies seeking better profits have been accused of using highly manipulative algorithms to grab user attention, influence prices, and even exploit the rights of gig workers.
The new policy requires companies that use these types of algorithms to publicly disclose how their recommendation algorithms work, and allow users to easily turn off the service.
The new rules also help protect the Chinese public from "fake news" that might be disseminated via platforms like TikTok.
Read the full statement from the Cyberspace Administration of China below (translation courtesy of Google):
Recently, the State Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly issued the "Internet Information Service Algorithm Recommendation Management Regulations" (hereinafter referred to as the "Regulations"), which will come into force on March 1, 2022. The relevant person in charge of the National Internet Information Office stated that the "Regulations" were issued to standardize Internet information service algorithm recommendation activities, safeguard national security and social public interests, protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations, and promote the healthy development of Internet information services.
In recent years, algorithm applications have injected new momentum into political, economic, and social development. At the same time, problems caused by algorithm discrimination, "big data killing", and inducing indulge in the unreasonable application of algorithms have also profoundly affected the normal communication order and market order. And social order poses challenges to safeguarding ideological security, social fairness and justice, and the legitimate rights and interests of netizens. The introduction of targeted algorithm recommendation rules and regulations in the field of Internet information services is a need to prevent and resolve security risks, and it is also a need to promote the healthy development of algorithm recommendation services and improve the level of supervision capabilities.
The "Regulations" clarify that the application of algorithmic recommendation technology refers to the use of algorithmic technologies such as generating synthesis, personalized push, sorting and selection, retrieval and filtering, and scheduling and decision-making to provide users with information. The national cybersecurity and informatization department is responsible for overall planning and coordination of the national algorithm recommendation service governance and related supervision and management. The State Council's telecommunications, public security, market supervision and other relevant departments are responsible for the supervision and management of algorithm recommendation services in accordance with their respective responsibilities. The local cybersecurity and informatization department is responsible for overall planning and coordination of algorithm recommendation service governance and related supervision and management within the administrative area. Relevant local departments are responsible for the supervision and management of algorithm recommendation services in their respective administrative regions according to their respective responsibilities.
The "Regulations" clarify the information service specifications of algorithm recommendation service providers, requiring algorithm recommendation service providers to adhere to the mainstream value orientation, actively spread positive energy, and must not use algorithm recommendation services to engage in illegal activities or disseminate illegal information. Measures should be taken to prevent and Resist the dissemination of bad information; establish and improve management systems and technical measures such as user registration, information release review, data security and personal information protection, and emergency response to security incidents, and regularly review, evaluate, and verify algorithm mechanisms, models, data, and application results; Establish and improve the feature database for identifying illegal and bad information. If illegal or bad information is found, corresponding measures should be taken; strengthen the management of user models and user tags, and improve the rules for points of interest and user tags recorded in the user model; Strengthen the ecological management of the algorithm recommendation service page, establish and improve the mechanism of manual intervention and user independent selection, and actively present information that meets the mainstream value orientation in key links; standardize the development of Internet news information services, and shall not generate synthetic false news information or disseminate non-state regulations News information released by the units within; algorithms shall not be used to influence online public opinion, circumvent supervision and management, monopoly and unfair competition.
The "Regulations" clarify the user rights protection requirements of algorithm recommendation service providers, including guaranteeing the right to know the algorithm, requiring users to be informed of the provision of algorithm recommendation services, and publicizing the basic principles, purpose and intentions and main operating mechanisms of the service; guaranteeing the algorithm The right to choose should provide users with options that are not specific to their personal characteristics, or the option to conveniently turn off algorithm recommendation services. In addition, the "Regulations" clarify specific requirements for the provision of algorithmic recommendation services to minors, the elderly, workers, consumers and other subjects. If algorithmic recommendation services are not used to induce minors to indulge in the Internet, it should be convenient for the safety of the elderly. The use of algorithmic recommendation services shall establish and improve the relevant algorithms of platform order distribution, remuneration composition and payment, working hours, rewards and punishments, and shall not use algorithms to implement unreasonable trading conditions such as transaction prices based on consumer preferences and transaction habits. Differential treatment, etc.
The "Regulations" require that algorithm recommendation service providers with public opinion attributes or social mobilization capabilities should fill in the filing information through the Internet information service algorithm filing system within ten working days from the date of providing the service, and perform the filing procedures; if the filing information has changed , The change procedures should be completed within the specified time. Algorithm recommendation service providers shall keep network logs in accordance with the law, cooperate with relevant departments to carry out safety assessment and supervision and inspection work, and provide necessary technical and data support and assistance.
The relevant person in charge of the National Internet Information Office pointed out that the governance of algorithm recommendation services requires the participation of the government, enterprises, society, and netizens to promote fairness, fairness, standardization and transparency of algorithm recommendation services, promote the improvement of algorithm recommendation services, and create a clearer network space.