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China will regulate – can censor

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Chinese authorities have called on internet companies to create a system of governance for their algorithms.

A set of guiding opinions About Algorithms, released overnight by nine government agencies, explains that algorithms play an important role in delivering information online and growing the digital economy. But the guiding opinions also point out that the algorithms used online can also have an impact on society and financial markets.

China therefore wants to regulate them to ensure that it sees only the positive.

Machine translations of the notices reveal that Chinese authorities want tech companies to make sure their algorithms are fair, transparent, and protect citizens’ rights.

Algorithms are also supposed to be politically correct, promoting appropriate socialist values, raising “correct” political orientations and preventing the spread of content deemed questionable. Code that creates anti-competitive results is not welcome.

To achieve its goals, Beijing expects organizations using algorithms to create algorithm governance teams to assess their code and detect any security or ethics loopholes. Self-regulation is expected, as is continuous review and self-improvement.

Chinese authorities will monitor these efforts and spare no effort when they find harmful algorithms or less than comprehensive compliance efforts. Citizen reports on erroneous algos will inform certain regulatory actions.

The organizations had three years to achieve this, with more guidance to come from Beijing.

China does not allow full market opening, and its government has absolutely no fear of ordering private companies to adopt practices it deems in the best interests of the nation – even if they can harm the nation. their businesses.

Demanding algorithm monitoring suggests Beijing is worried on two fronts. First, he’s worried about how automation is already playing out on the internet in China. Second, he observed that the Western web giants have used algorithms to increase user engagement in ways that amplify misinformation and that have clearly done massive damage in the real world.

The new regulations are further proof that Beijing wants to exercise control over what Chinese citizens can see online. This desire has already seen China crack down on portrayals of effeminate men, warn fan clubs not to get mean, ban racy online content aimed at children, and crack down on computer games – including those that are not historically accurate. – and even give advice on which songs make acceptable karaoke. ®


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