Cyberspace watchdog to rectify improper use of algorithms
Published: Mar 17, 2022 11:35 PM
Cyber security Photo: IC

Cyber security Photo: IC

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country's top cyberspace regulator, said it will make cracking down on algorithm-induced information cocoons and algorithmic discrimination one of the 10 goals of its rectification programs in 2022.

An information cocoon is a phenomenon in which when facing a lot of information online, people tend to see only what they want to see and have their horizons narrowed down, a process that is reinforced by use of algorithms. Algorithmic discrimination refers to biased results instead of those of a neutral stance.

The watchdog said it had launched a regulation targeting algorithm recommendations, which took effect on March 1, to hold internet platform companies accountable and prompt the rectification of abnormalities based on improper application of algorithms.

Another regulation released in January specified that service providers should not use algorithms to influence public opinion toward circumventing supervision and management, or act in a monopolistic way and engage in unfair competition.

It is also stated that algorithms should not be used to engage in illegal activities or for the dissemination of illegal information.

China has since last year stepped up the supervision of internet companies and some leading internet firms are being scrutinized for various illegal activities.

Market watchers said that in the sphere of regulating internet technology companies, China's concerns mirror those of most Western governments about market power and data usage, as well as the role of algorithms used by platforms to promote targeted sales. 

The move was announced together with measures in nine other directions to foster the healthy development of cyberspace activity.