Chinese internet companies such as Alibaba, Tencent, and TikTok parent ByteDance have shared information about their algorithms with the Chinese government for the first time.
The Chinese internet watchdog has published a list with descriptions of algorithms of thirty internet services.
The internet watchdog did not release the precise pieces of software code. As a result, it is unclear whether the companies have shared those in confidence.
The algorithms, pieces of software that determine, for example, which TikTok videos users see or which advertisements people are presented with, are seen as the secret ingredient that helps many internet services to distinguish themselves. However, companies keep the exact operation of this secret because otherwise, their services can be copied.
China introduced rules in March requiring companies to share these secrets with the government. Beijing would thus want to prevent the data of citizens from being misused. However, the authorities also use the legislation to limit the power of tech companies, something the Chinese government has been working on for some time.