Stack of business newspapers

Publishers in the UK have urged Apple to rethink the so-called ‘web eraser’ tool that can block advertisements, as they believe the financial sustainability of journalism will be at risk.

Apple Insider was the first to uncover details about a new feature to the iPhone web browser Safari which is expected to be released as part of iOS 18. The AI addition will allow users to selectively turn off online ads and automatically remove certain parts of web pages.

According to the Financial Times, this upcoming feature has prompted the UK News Media Association to write a letter to Apple to urge them to reconsider its plans.

The News Media Association represents 900 national, regional, and local publishers throughout the United Kingdom. This includes the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sun, and more.

The letter says professional journalism requires funding “and advertising is a key revenue stream for many publishers.”

Online ads could be blocked with new Apple Safari feature

They also argue that online platforms, like web browsers and social networks, are go-to routes for the public to access journalism but also for publishers to “monetize their content in the digital marketplace.”

The prospect of ad blocking has caused concern amongst the publishers, as the Association’s letter continues: “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.”

Apple are yet to make a comment or response to the organization’s concern and they’ve remained very tight-lipped about the possible feature and the others that will be unveiled in future updates.

Unless any changes take place, the feature is expected to be announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

Again, there isn’t a lot known about what will be spoken about at the event, but a strong emphasis on artificial intelligence has been suggested through rumors and insiders for some time.

The conference will take place at Apple Park from June 10 to June 14, 2024.

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