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Newspaper groups warn Apple over potential ad-blocking plans

Newspaper groups warn Apple over potential ad-blocking plans

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British newspaper groups have reportedly sent a letter to Apple warning that its plan to create a type of "web eraser" tool to block advertisements could impact the financial sustainability of journalists.

This comes as Apple reportedly plans to incorporate an AI-based privacy feature in the Safari browser in the next iOS 18 software update. This feature will remove ads and unwanted website content, according to the Financial Times

Don't miss: Apple apologises for iPad Pro 'Crush' ad

In the letter, which was reportedly sent to Apple's government affairs chief in the UK, the News Media Association (NMA) raised concerns about how this new feature will affect digital revenues in the industry.

The NMA has 900 titles under it including The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph.

In the letter, which was seen by the Financial Times, it reportedly told Apple that journalism needs funding, and that advertising is a key revenue stream for many publishers. 

NMA reportedly added that online platforms such as social media networks and web browsers are important when it comes to accessing stories and articles by journalists. It is also important because it allows publishers to monetise their content in the digital marketplace, according to the Financial Times. 

The letter reportedly added that Apple's ad-blocking will "frustrate" the ability of content creators to fund their work sustainably and that it could lead to consumers missing important information. 

It reportedly also said that questions about editorial accountability could be raised if AI tools were used to remove or change the content of articles. It reportedly asked for a meeting between Apple and publishers to discuss the potential implications of this 'web eraser'.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to the NMA and Apple for more information.  

The news comes after a new report found that tech giants such as Apple, Google, Meta, X and more are failing to provide critical ad transparency tools to its users, leaving them more susceptible to disinformation. 

In the report, Mozilla and CheckFirst, a Finland-based research and software solutions company, conducted an evaluation of ad transparency tools between December 2023 and January 2024. It used different parameters that included data accessibility and usability, functionality, accuracy and analysed a number of ad transparency tools created by tech platforms such as Google, Meta, Apple, LinkedIn, X, Snapchat, Bing, TikTok and more. 

For example, the study found that Google's ad repository is accessible to the public, which is crucial. Although targeting parameters and recipient data are somewhat limited and sometimes totally absent, Google's inclusion of country-specific targeting and aggregate recipient data offers some insight into ad reach and targeted demographics, it said. 

In the case of YouTube, it noted that it was one of the few repositories that includes branded or user-declared commercial communications content such as influencer content.  

Join us on 12 June 2024 for an exciting experience as Content360 makes its debut in Malaysia! Brace yourself to join the crème de la crème of the content marketing industry hailing from across the region. Immerse yourself in a dynamic atmosphere, and uncover the latest trends with thought leaders and solution providers from the realm of content.

Related articles: 
YouTube clamps down on ad blocker third-party apps  
Google blocked and removed 5.5 billion ads in 2023 
Google expands its ads transparency centre to adhere to EU rules

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