Dozens of technology companies have submitted their proprietary algorithms to China’s internet regulator in recent weeks, including Alibaba, Tencent and Weibo, according to official documents.
The move comes after the Cyberspace Administration ordered the firms to submit the algorithms that crunch user data to push tailor-made content and advertising to individuals, banning algorithms that are designed to make users spend large amounts of money, or “disrupt public order.”
Thirty companies appear on a list of recent submissions, according to a document published on the agency’s website, including NetEase, Weibo, Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba.
The list includes algorithms used for hot searches, pushing tailor-made recommendations to individuals, news searches, and to calculate the “security risk” of user-generated content, which is a potential threat to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s “public opinion management” system that aims to keep online content in line with its propaganda.
The move is unprecedented, as global tech companies typically decline to reveal their algorithms to investigators or the government.