China beefs up control of online recommendations - Mobile World Live

China beefs up control of online recommendations

30 AUG 2021

The Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) issued detailed draft regulations for recommendation algorithms, as the government moves to tighten internet controls by requiring companies to inform users how they recommend content and products, and provide an opt-out option.

A translated CAC statement stated companies need to provide users with a way of “selecting, modifying or deleting user tags” for algorithm recommendation services.

The document added when users believe service providers’ use of algorithms has a “significant impact on their rights and interests, they have the right to require the provider to explain, and adopt measures to improve or remedy the situation”.

Providers also are required to provide protection for minors and are barred from giving recommendations that could “lead minors to online addiction”.

Kendra Schaefer, head of Tech Policy Research at Trivium China, tweeted: “There is a clear concern [by the Chinese government] that algorithms will be used to the detriment of socialist core values.”

She added in a separate tweet: “Most interesting to me: Users must be provided with a convenient way to see and delete the keywords that the algorithm is using to profile them.”

Feedback can be submitted until 26 September.

Authorities can issue warnings when violations are found and can impose fines of between CNY5,000 ($772) and CNY30,000 when the problems are not addressed.

The call for input from the public comes two weeks after the country’s State Administration for Market Regulation opened a public consultation on newly draft regulations for the internet sector and is part of a wider crackdown on digital platforms.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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