Apple’s Upcoming Native Ad-Blocker in Safari Worries UK Media Group

Apple’s Upcoming Native Ad-Blocker in Safari Worries UK Media Group

Apple’s upcoming iOS 18 update is anticipated to be one of the biggest updates, slated to debut during WWDC. One of the features that the next iOS will pack could be an AI-powered privacy feature, dubbed “Web Eraser” in Safari, to remove ads or other unwanted content on the website. For better understanding, let’s just assume that it will be a native ad blocker for Safari. 

As beneficial as it may sound on the consumer side, the publishers don’t seem very happy with this upcoming move. UK’s Media group has warned Apple that any such move—to browse the web while removing certain portions of the website, including ads—would put their businesses (or journalism) at risk, reports the Financial Times. Given that publishers heavily depend on advertisements to cover operational expenses, their concern is understandable.

News Media Association, comprising 900 titles at all levels—national, regional, and local, sent a letter to Apple’s government affairs chief in the UK raising concerns about how this would affect “digital revenues in the industry.” For reference, popular and reputable titles such as The Times, The Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the Daily Mirror are a part of the News Media Association (NMA).

The letter sent by NMA noted, “ad-blocking is a blunt instrument, which frustrates the ability of content creators to sustainably fund their work and could lead to consumers missing important information which would otherwise have been very useful to them.”

The report further mentions how Apple’s App Tracking Transparency banned apps and advertisers from “collecting data about iPhone users without their explicit consent.” Most people said no to giving permission, so Apple made their privacy rules even stricter in later iPhone updates. Notably, big techs including Google and Meta have threatened publishers, which has “led to a drop in digital revenue for many newspaper groups.”


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