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China Strengthens Regulation of Algorithm Recommendation Services from TikTok and Other Providers

Tue, 08 Feb 2022
Categories: China Legal Trends

On 4 Jan. 2022, four departments including the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued the “Regulations on the Administration of Algorithm Recommendation of Internet Information Services” (hereinafter “the Regulations”, 互联网信息服务算法推荐管理规定), which applies to the use of algorithm recommendation technology to provide Internet information services in China.

For example, TikTok pushes videos to users, gig economy platforms such as Meituan schedule the work contents and hours of their employees, and online travel booking platforms such as Ctrip pushes the prices of airline tickets and hotels to users.

Under the Regulations, the use of algorithm recommendation technology refers to the use of algorithmic technology, such as content generation and synthesis, personalized recommendation, sorting and selection, content retrieval and filtering, or scheduling and decision-making to provide users with information.

In China, some service providers use algorithm recommendation technology to provide discriminatory or even fraudulent services to consumers, or use algorithm recommendation technology to push information that is harmful to the mental health of minors.

In terms of the protection of users’ rights and interests that attracts the most attention, the Regulations specifies the following.

(1) Right to know about the algorithm

Service providers should inform users of their algorithm recommendation services, including the basic principles, intention, and main operating mechanism of the algorithm.

(2) Right to choose/turn off the algorithm

Users have the right to turn off the algorithm recommendation services, or request the service provider to provide services not targeting their personal characteristics.

(3) Right to delete personal characteristics

Users have the right to request the service provider to delete user tags targeting their personal characteristics for algorithm recommendation services.

(4) Right of non-discrimination by the algorithm

Service providers that target minors, the elderly, laborers, consumers, and other subjects shall not use algorithms to impose unreasonable differential treatment in prices and other transaction terms based on consumers’ preferences and transaction habits.



Cover Photo by Franck on Unsplash


Contributors: CJO Staff Contributors Team

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