French Media Sound Alarm Over Apple’s New “Web Eraser” Feature

French Media Sound Alarm Over Apple’s New “Web Eraser” Feature

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Summary: French marketing and media professionals are sounding the alarm over Apple’s upcoming “Web Eraser” feature in the iOS 18 update, fearing it acts as a default ad blocker in Safari, threatening the digital advertising revenue crucial for media outlets. Representing 800 companies, they warn this could undermine access to free, quality information and jeopardize 100,000 jobs in the advertising ecosystem. They urge Apple to reconsider and engage in dialogue, drawing parallels to the disruptive impact of the App Tracking Transparency rollout in 2021.

Details: The issue raised in the attached letter to Tim Cook concerns the upcoming “Web Eraser” feature in the Safari browser as part of the iOS 18 update. French marketing and media professionals, representing 800 companies in various sectors such as advertisers, media agencies, publishers, AdTech, and mobile marketing, have expressed significant concerns about this feature. The “Web Eraser” is designed to remove content deemed undesirable or unwanted from websites and remember these changes for future visits.

The professionals argue that this feature essentially acts as an ad blocker, potentially eliminating all advertising content on websites indefinitely. They emphasize that online advertising is crucial for the economic model of the press and media, accounting for a significant portion of digital revenue for European newspapers and magazines.

The main concerns include:

1. Economic Impact: The feature could drastically reduce digital advertising revenues, threatening the business models of media outlets during an already challenging period.
2. Access to Information: It could limit citizens’ access to free, diverse, and quality information, affecting content accessibility and democratic vitality.
3. Job and Ecosystem Impact: The feature might undermine an ecosystem of around 9,000 companies and 100,000 jobs reliant on online advertising and digital marketing.

The letter also draws parallels with the disruptive impact of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) introduced in 2021, which led to significant financial losses and is currently subject to anti-competitive complaints in Europe.

Furthermore, there are concerns about the legal and editorial responsibilities associated with the feature’s ability to alter or remove content without supervision. The professionals urge Apple to reconsider the implementation of the “Web Eraser” feature and to engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

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