China Passes Sweeping Recommendation Algorithm Regulations

Jan 30, 2022Reports, News

The Cybersecurity Administration of China has passed a new set of recommendation algorithm regulations that take significant steps in regulating how the technology can be used. If enforced as intended, the regulations will have a major impact on companies that rely heavily on the technology, such as social media applications, e-commerce platforms, and news sites, requiring them to increase oversight and make significant technical adjustments.

The aim of the regulation, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China, is to promote the sustainable development of Internet services and to enable independent supervision.

However, this regulation is also intended to strengthen the political control of the Chinese Communist Party. The Wall Street Journal noted that “Regulators called for algorithms to be fair and transparent, while adhering to China’s Communist Party ideology.” The CAC said that the algorithms used by Chinese companies must uphold core socialist values and promote “positive energy” in the content they provide to users. The Act refers specifically to the guiding ideology of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Other provisions establish licensing requirements for news organizations, a step that will limit freedom of expression. And it is unclear whether the rules for transparency will be applied to the authority of the Communist state, such as the AI prosecutor that reportedly can identify and suggest the charges for alleged crimes, including social dissent, criticism, and ‘provoking’ trouble.

The Global Alliance for Digital Governance continues to coordinate to protect smart democracy in digital and standards of Social Contract for the AI Age.