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UK Newspapers Warn Apple Against “Web Eraser” Feature’s Threat to Journalism

 |  May 12, 2024

British newspaper groups have raised serious concerns over Apple’s purported plans to introduce a “web eraser” tool in its Safari browser, as reported by the Financial Times on Sunday. The tool, touted to be AI-based, is anticipated to filter out advertisements and other undesired content from websites, posing a significant threat to the financial stability of journalism.

According to the Financial Times, Apple is gearing up to integrate this privacy feature into the upcoming iOS 18 software update. However, the move has triggered alarm bells within the news media industry, with fears that it could jeopardize digital revenues essential for sustaining journalism in the digital age.

The News Media Association (NMA), representing the interests of newspaper publishers, has expressed apprehension regarding the potential impact of this tool on the industry’s revenue streams. The association reportedly conveyed its concerns to Apple’s UK government affairs chief in a letter sent on Friday, as per the FT report.

Read more: Apple Denies EU Competition Law Violation Ahead of Fine Decision

Highlighting the critical role advertising plays in supporting professional journalism, the NMA emphasized in its letter that journalism requires funding, and any measures impeding advertising revenue could severely undermine the financial sustainability of news organizations.

Moreover, the NMA voiced worries about the implications of employing artificial intelligence to selectively alter or remove content from articles, raising questions about editorial integrity and accountability. The association stressed the importance of maintaining transparency and editorial independence in news content.

In response to these concerns, the NMA has called for a meeting between publishers and Apple to delve into the potential ramifications of the proposed “web eraser” feature. The aim is to foster dialogue and address the industry’s apprehensions regarding the tool’s implementation and its broader impact on journalism.

Source: Financial Times