The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has released a list comprising 30 algorithms used in some of the country’s most popular apps, such as Tencent’s [0700:HK] WeChat, Alibaba’s [BABA:US] Taobao, and ByteDance’s Douyin, as reported by South China Morning Post on August 13. The unprecedented oversight of tech companies’ prized algorithms followed new regulations on algorithm recommendation services published by four authorities on March 1, which ordered app developers to disclose the algorithm used in their apps and make sure consumers can decline personalized recommendations. According to the CAC, it will update the list when more tech companies submit their algorithms to comply with the supervision.
China has tightened regulations on how tech companies process user information. Last year, Chinese regulators passed the Personal Information Protection Law and Data Security Law, which aim to protect user privacy and improve the management of data concerning national security. The regulations on recommendation algorithms aim to address users’ complaints over algorithmic discrimination. For instance, certain internet platforms overcharge their users based on records about these users’ spending habits. Under the new rules, online platforms are also required to submit non-public information to the CAC, including a self-assessment on the security of algorithms, the data they collect, whether the data contain sensitive biometric or identity information, and the data sources they use to train algorithms.