Russian Major Online Platforms Reveal Their Recommendation Algorithms

Russian Major Online Platforms Reveal Their Recommendation Algorithms
Photo: toptal.com 03.10.2023 561

The Recommendation Algorithms Act, effective October 1, 2023, applies to social networks, marketplaces, and video streaming services.

The companies VK, Yandex, Ozon, Wildberries, Sbermarket, M.video-Eldorado, ivi, and Start have published on their resources the rules for applying their recommendation algorithms and SERP-features. This is required of them by the law on recommendation algorithms, which came into force on October 1, 2023.

Recommendation algorithms (including the SERP-features) allow an online service to change the list and order of data given to a particular user in response to his or her request. The law provides for the publication of rules for the use of algorithmicized data. They must contain a description of the processes and methods of data collection, systematization and analysis, as well as the ways of implementing such processes and methods when targeting user requests. It is also required to disclose the types and sources of obtaining information for targeting.

Owners of websites and services that use recommendation algorithms have started to implement the law, a representative of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor (RKN) confirmed to Vedomosti. 

"In particular, operators are posting the rules of the algorithms, and a number of large resources have started informing their users about their use,"

 he said.

Major services such as Yandex, VK, Wildberries, Ozon, M.video-Eldorado, ivi, and Start confirmed to Vedomosti that they have placed rules for the use of recommendation technologies on their resources and comply with the law. A representative of Ozon added that he was awaiting the issuance of an order regulating the procedure for notifying users.

On the main page of Yandex in the drop-down menu below the user agreement appeared the section "Rules of recommendations", which contains the features of all services of the ecosystem: search, Yandex.Music, Movie Search, Bookmate, Yandex.Taxi, Yandex.Love, Yandex.Market and others. For example, Yandex takes into account the history of user search queries, clicks on links in the results and the time of return to the search page, information about the user's device, geolocation information, cookies, the language of queries and pages in the results.

Foreign services that use recommendation algorithms in their work and are present on the Russian market must fully comply with the new requirements of Russian legislation, Anton Gorelkin, one of the authors of the law and Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications, told Vedomosti. 

The law does not provide for the division of sites into Russian and foreign, explains Pavel Katkov, a lawyer and a member of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Committee on Entrepreneurship in Media Communications. That is why YouTube may be subject to the above procedure, including blocking through telecom operators, Katkov admits.

In relation to foreign services, a large number of requirements of the Russian authorities have already accumulated (for example, localization of Russian users' data, storage of personal data), which are not actually fulfilled for a number of reasons, says lawyer Yaroslav Shitsle. Therefore, formally, the new law may entail restriction of access to some foreign services, but such grounds have been collected by the Russian Federal Security Service for quite some time, he concluded.

Source: Vedomosti

digital markets  Russia 

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