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Apple adds auto-play video blocking to desktop Safari

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Hate it when sites blast you with auto-play video? Well Apple is swooping in to fight this scourge with the addition of an auto-play video blocking feature to the new Safari browser for its upcoming macOS High Sierra desktop operating system. Announced today at WWDC, this option will let you keep auto-play videos paused until you choose to unpause them. The feature will roll out with the public beta of High Sierra in late June.

Apple is doing a great service to users while making life tougher for content publishers with this update.

Auto-play video can be convenient when it’s predictable and only happens when a video is on screen, like in some social apps. But when a text news article suddenly starts blaring sound from an ad or auto-play video player in the sidebar, it’s infuriating and an abuse of our attention.

Publishers have reacted to Google and Facebook sucking up their ad revenue by resorting to these user-hostile tactics. So few beyond these outlets are likely to complain when Apple’s focus on user experience lets Safari steamroll this media format.

In another attack on the exploitative end of the advertising industry, Safari is introducing a tracker blocker that uses machine learning to detect and thwart these systems for the benefit of your privacy.

No word on whether these features will make their way to the mobile version of Safari. But the moves show that Apple has no qualms about screwing advertisers for the good of its customers.

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