Alibaba, ByteDance Share Details of Prized Algorithms With Beijing for First Time – Slashdot
China’s internet giants from Tencent to ByteDance have shared details of their prized algorithms with Beijing for the first time, an unprecedented move aimed at curbing data abuse that may end up compromising closely guarded corporate secrets. From a report: The internet watchdog on Friday published a list describing 30 algorithms that firms including Alibaba Group Holding and Meituan employ to gather data on users, tailor personal recommendations and serve up content. While the public list stopped short of revealing the actual code, it wasn’t clear the extent to which internet firms may have revealed their underlying software to regulators in private.
The algorithms that decide which TikTok videos, WeChat posts and Instagram photos users see are considered the secret sauce of many online services, critical in capturing user attention and driving growth. China in March adopted regulations that require internet firms to disclose such tools, an effort to address complaints about data abuse that also helps regulators keep internet firms on a tighter leash. Tech industry algorithms are jealously guarded and have been at the heart of political controversies around the world. That disclosure requirement sets China apart from countries like the US, where Meta Platforms and Alphabet have argued successfully that algorithms are business secrets, even as lawmakers and activists seek to better understand how they curate content and manage data.