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China to Regulate Algorithms behind Internet Platforms

On August 27, 2021, the Cyber Administration of China, the country’s top Internet regulator, issued a draft version of the “Internet Information Service Algorithmic Recommendation Management Provision.”

“The use of algorithmic recommendation technology … refers to the use of generative or synthetic–type, personalized recommendation–type, ranking and selection–type, search filter–type, dispatching and decision-making–type, and other such algorithmic technologies to provide information content to users.”

The draft version stated, “Algorithmic recommendation service providers shall uphold mainstream value orientations, optimize algorithmic recommendation service mechanisms, vigorously disseminate positive energy, and advance the use of algorithms upwards and in the direction of good.”

“Algorithmic recommendation service providers may not use algorithmic recommendation services to engage in activities harming national security, upsetting the economic order and the social order, infringing on the lawful rights and interests of other persons, and other such acts prohibited by laws and administrative regulations. They may not use algorithmic recommendation services to disseminate information prohibited by laws and administrative regulations.”

“Algorithmic recommendation service providers shall strengthen information content management; they shall establish and complete feature databases to be used to identify unlawful and harmful information”

“Where unlawful information is discovered, transmission shall cease immediately, measures such as deletion shall be adopted to handle it, information spread shall be prevented, and relevant records preserved; and a report shall be made to the cybersecurity and informationization department. Where harmful information is discovered, it shall be dealt with according to online information content ecology management-related regulations.”

“Algorithmic recommendation service providers shall … vigorously present information content conforming to mainstream value orientations in key segments such as front pages and main screens, hot search terms, selected topics, topic lists, pop-up windows, and more.” “The national cybersecurity and informationization department is to establish a categorized and graded management system, to implement categorized and graded management of algorithmic recommendation service providers on the basis of the public opinion properties of algorithmic recommendation services or their social mobilization capability, content categories, scale of users, the degree of sensitivity of data handled in algorithmic recommendation, the degree of interference in users’ activities, etc.”

“The providers of algorithmic recommendation services with public opinion properties or social mobilization capabilities shall conduct a security assessment according to relevant State regulations.”

“Algorithmic recommendation service providers shall cooperate with relevant competent departments carrying out security assessment, supervision, and inspection work according to the law, and provide the necessary technical, data, other data, and support and assistance.”

The Provision also specifies the punishment such as a fine between 5,000 and 30,000 yuan for violating the regulations. “Where an act violating public order management is constituted, public order management punishment is to be imposed according to the law; where a crime is constituted, criminal liability is to be prosecuted according to the law.”

Source: Cyber Administration of China, August 27, 2021