China’s Regulations on Algorithms

Steven Rolf (2023), Friedrich Ebert Siftung Future of Work Policy Briefing

On 1 March 2022, China’s Regulations on the Administration of Internet Information Service Recommendation Algorithms entered into effect. The new Chinese provisions, consisting of 35 brief articles, constitute a sweeping and comprehensive effort to regulate the use of ‘algorithmic recommendation services’ across society – addressing spheres ranging from news and social media and e-commerce to fraud prevention and platform work. As such, the regulations cover virtually all forms of recommendation and decision-making algorithms.

The FES Future of Work briefing “China’s regulations on algorithms: challenges, impacts & comparisions with the EU” places the Regulations in the context of recent shifts toward digital regulation within China, examines the broad scope of the Regulations, and explores the impact these may have across society. It looks in particular at the consequences of algorithmic management for work and workers (and particularly for the platform economy), and what impact the Regulations may have on this field. Finally, it contrasts the Regulations with comparable initiatives in the European Union, arguing that China’s combination of a stringent regulatory system with expansive industrial policy aimed at pushing toward the technological frontier constitutes a formidable means of socially embedding the digital economy.

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