Apple's news subscription service, Apple News+, appears to be "intercepting traffic" to the sites of publishers that have participated in the program. This has been pointed out in a tweet by Tony Haile, CEO of subscription news service Scroll.
News+ has been spotted opening web links from its participating publishers directly in the dedicated News app by default in the early beta versions of iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur. That means when you tap or click on a link to an article published by a News+ partner, Apple's latest mobile and Mac operating systems will redirect you from the publisher's website to the story's page on the News app.
Woah, I wonder how many publishers in Apple News+ realize that the new iOS14 and MacOS Big Sur are by default intercepting traffic to their sites and sending it to the Apple News app instead. pic.twitter.com/k4PQG9mE7M— Tony Haile (@arctictony) August 10, 2020
Normally, News+ subscribers must opt in to this feature to open web links in that app. That can be done through a toggle in Apple News on iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur. Haile remarks that this change intercepts traffic to a publisher's website and "cannibalizes a publisher's core subscription audience" by bringing subscribers to the News app.
The move is seen as a part of Apple's aggressive effort to grow the subscriber base of its rather struggling subscription news service, as per a CNBC report last year. It remains to be seen now how publishers will react to this change. That said, there's no certainty that this change will make it to a public release when the final versions of iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur are released.