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    UK media association warns Apple against ad-blocking: Report

    The News Media Association, a UK organization representing 900 news media outlets has raised concerns over the effects of Web Eraser, Apple’s rumored new AI-based privacy tool, on digital revenues. The letter addressed to Apple’s UK Government Affairs Chief, stated that the ad-erasing feature of the tool could negatively impact news publishers’ revenues, the Financial Times reported.

    What is the Web Eraser tool?

    Apple Insider reported, that Web Eraser is an AI  tool that enables users to erase specific unwanted sections of web pages to protect their privacy. These could include banner ads, images, text or even entire page sections. Erased content will continue to be hidden from users even after the browsing session has ended.

    Loss of ad revenue for news publishers

    The ‘Web eraser’ can be enabled by users for ad blocking. This is of concern for news publishers, as their business model depends on ad revenues collected from their websites. “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 letter said, as per the Financial Times report.

    How will this affect editorial accountability?

    While the Web Eraser is a privacy tool and is meant to erase ads, there is a risk of AI potentially erasing other sections of the webpage. This concerns news publishers as erasing the content of a news article can have major consequences. The News Media AssociationNMA brings attention to the fact that these may increase challenges of editorial accountability as publishers may no longer have control over what is displayed to the reader.

    The battle between news publishers and Big Tech

    This concern of loss of revenue from the ad erasure is exacerbated by the ongoing tensions between news publishers and Big Tech companies that host their content, wherein news publishers claim that Big Tech companies negatively impact their revenues. India’s IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar acknowledged this in February, saying there was a “deep asymmetry between those who create content and those who help the content creators monetize that content.”

    Minister of Information & Broadcasting Anurag Thakur in February noted, that news publishers often lost advertising revenues to Big tech companies, “because a lot of money goes into the content creation, some money goes into fact-checking and as rightly mentioned, the power lies in the hand of foreign companies who work behind the wall of transparency, with the algorithms changing from time to time….so that is a big challenge.”

    With the possible introduction of this ad-blocking provision, publishers may protest further on the effect of Big Tech’s actions on their ad revenues.

    Also Read:

    The post UK media association warns Apple against ad-blocking: Report appeared first on MediaNama.

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