Apple’s Ad-Blocking Plans May Hurt Journalism’s Financial Viability, UK Newspaper Groups Warn

By Trisha Andrada

May 13, 2024 05:30 AM EDT

The logo of US tech giant Apple can be seen on an Apple store in Munich, southern Germany. - Apple said it planned to invest more than one billion euros ($1.2 billion) in Germany and open Europe's biggest research facility on mobile wireless semiconductors and software. The company said it would make Munich its "European Silicon Design Centre", creating hundreds of new jobs at a facility for 5G and wireless technologies.
(Photo : Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

In a letter to Apple, many British newspaper organizations expressed concern that the future of journalism's financial stability may be jeopardized if the tech company were to implement a "web eraser" tool.

According to reports, Apple is getting ready to release iOS 18 with an artificial intelligence-powered privacy feature for the Safari browser that would filter out advertisements and other unwanted information from websites.

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Newspaper Media Groups Fear Potential Digital Income Losses

The News Media Association (NMA) wrote to Apple's government affairs chief in the United Kingdom and expressed worries about the potential impact of the planned Safari update on digital revenues in the industry. Notably, the association represents 900 national, regional, and local publications.

The Financial Times has seen the letter that said advertising is a vital source of income for many publishers and that quality journalism needs support.

NMA pointed out that the general public can receive news via online channels like social media and web browsers, and publishers may also monetize their material in the digital marketplace.

According to the NMA's letter, ad blocking is a blunt tool that hinders content producers' ability to support their work sustainably and might cause consumers to miss essential information.

The letter went on to say that using AI techniques to modify or delete articles would raise serious concerns about editorial responsibility. It requested that Apple and publishers meet to discuss the web eraser and its possible consequences.

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