Abiri & Huang on The People’s (Republic) Algorithms

Gilad Abiri (Peking University School of Transnational Law; Yale Law School) and Xinyu Huang
(Yale Law School) have posted “The People’s (Republic) Algorithms” (Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law (Forthcoming)) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Recommendation algorithms, such as those behind social media feeds and search engine results, are the prism through which we acquire information in our digital age. Critics ascribe many social and political woes—such as the prevalence of misinformation and political division—to the fact that we view our world through the personalized and atomized prism of recommendation artificial intelligence. The way the great powers of the internet—the United States, the European Union, and China—choose to regulate recommendation algorithms will undoubtedly have a serious impact on our lives and political well-being.

On December 31, 2021, the Cyberspace Administration of China, a governmental internet watchdog, published a bombshell regulation directed at recommendation algorithms. These regulations, which went into effect on March 2022, exponentially increase the control and autonomy of Chinese netizens over their digital life. At the same time, the regulation will greatly increase the control the Chinese government has over these algorithms. In this timely essay, we analyze the content of the regulation and situate it in its historical and political context.