China’s cyberspace regulator solicits public opinion on algorithm management
Published: Aug 27, 2021 09:32 PM
algorithm Photo:VCG


The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) began soliciting public opinion on a new draft of rules for algorithm management for internet information service platforms on Friday. It's the latest move to address the issues of unfair competition, evasion of supervision and efforts to influence online public opinion amid stepped-up efforts to regulate the platform economy and fan culture. 

The CAC aims to clear up the entertainment industry, against a backdrop of social media platforms and idol agencies repeatedly touching the red line through activities such as manipulation of online rankings, industry analysts said.

The deadline for the submission of comments is September 26.

The new draft clearly says that algorithm service providers must not use algorithms to block information, manipulate ranking lists or search results, control searches or selection, forge likes and comments, or hijack online traffic.

Algorithm recommendation service providers should abide by business ethics and professional ethics, and follow the principles of fairness, openness and transparency, the draft said.

"Some idol agencies are very good at using algorithms to create hot spots, which is partially the reason why the draft rule aims to improve human intervention, because the machine itself has no concept of right or wrong," Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Friday.

There are cases of some celebrities indulging fans' efforts to abuse each other, as well as fabricating rumors and other kinds of harmful information, which seriously pollutes the internet environment, experts said.

In addition to idol agencies, platform service providers are also targeted by the new rules, as some of them use algorithms for bundling sales or luring customers. They even buy and sell information to third parties without the users' permission, Sun Yuzhong, a technology and internet analyst, told the Global Times on Friday.

The use of algorithms helps the platform operators, but merchants and users are often squeezed, so there is not a reasonable distribution of profits, industry experts said.

The question is who controls the algorithms and who the algorithms serve, said Ma.

Global Times