Apple News app signs up bloggers without their consent

Apple is facing a blogger backlash after approaching them to join its news service, only to presume their agreement to strict terms and conditions.

The terms include things like covering Apple's costs if legal action is sought against the company, but an email describing the news service also says bloggers have automatically agreed to the smallprint unless they opt out.

The smallprint read: "If we receive a legal claim about your RSS content, we will tell you so that you can resolve the issue, including indemnifying Apple if Apple is included in the claim."

Another term states that Apple is allowed to put adverts next to content provided by news sources, without paying them for it, as is usually the case for advertising beside content.

If publishers do not wish to accept the terms and conditions, they are expected to tell Apple explicitly, and in doing so, presumably omitting themselves from being part of the service.

However, bloggers approached by Apple have expressed alarm, saying they don't want to be bound by the conditions without even having read them.

One person contacted by the tech giant, Mike Ash, wrote on his blog: "You're going to consider me bound to terms you just declared to me in an e-mail as long as I don't respond? That's completely crazy. You don't even know if I received the e-mail!"

Apple News was announced at WWDC, and is designed to aggregate news stories for users to find all the headlines relevant to them in one place.

Shortly after it explained RSS feeds would be used to supply news, the company started advertising for editorial staff to work on the app, suggesting it would be curated by people rather than an auto or algorithm-led feed.

The advert said Apple wanted "passionate, knowledgeable editors to help identify and deliver the best in breaking national, global, and local news."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.