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UK newspapers tell Apple its 'web eraser' will put journalism at risk

Safari getting new AI tools in iOS 18

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Following AppleInsider's discovery that Safari will add the ability to selectively turn off online ads, UK newspaper groups have complained to Apple.

The Safari feature AppleInsider uncovered in April 2024 will mean users can elect to automatically remove certain parts of web pages, most likely adverts. It's expected that the feature will be released as part of iOS 18, and it will be part of Apple's AI announcements at WWDC.

According to the Financial Times, news of this feature has prompted the UK's News Media Association to complain. While the Financial Times says that a letter has been sent to Apple's government affairs chief in the UK, about this feature's threat to the future of journalism.

The News Media Association's letter reportedly said that "ad-blocking is a blunt instrument, which frustrates the ability of content creators to sustainably fund their work." It says that journalism could become unsustainable, and that it also raises questions of editorial accountability.

The organization wants to meet with Apple to discuss the feature. Apple has not yet publicly responded.

However, before any sign of this web erasing feature, there are signs of failing editorial accountability. News Media Association does not list what publications are members, although the Financial Times says the membership includes tabloid titles such as The Sun and the Daily Mail.

The Financial Times itself is not a member. The publication also doesn't list the correct job title for the Apple UK person written to, which a quick LinkedIn search shows was presumably Emma Haselhurst, Head of UK Government Affairs, Apple.