Apple stops updating Facebook app calling for 30% sales ‘tax’

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Apple reportedly blocked an update to the Facebook app notifying users of the company’s built-in 30% buying commission rate.

The social media giant told Reuters the post was supposed to be included as part of a new online events feature, but Apple rejected the update on the grounds of “irrelevant” information.

According to the post, the iPad and iPhone maker cited an Apple Developer Program rule that prevents developers from showing irrelevant information to users – while Facebook says the post was intended to improve transparency.

The new feature in question is aimed at influencers and high profile Facebook users and is described as “a new way to monetize your live online event through a one-time access fee that is collected when guests register for attend ”.

See also: Fortnite fight: Epic Apple App Store lawsuit aims for leverage, pressure and a better deal

Currently, paid online events are only available to a select group but will roll out more widely over time.

Facebook told Reuters that the company has asked Apple to waive the 30% iOS app purchase fee so that all revenue can be donated to event planners. However, Apple refused, so Facebook decided to make sure business owners and customers knew where their money was going.

Facebook said it shouldn’t take a cut to support small business owners, adding:

“We have asked Apple to reduce its 30% tax on the App Store or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so that we can absorb all costs for struggling businesses during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they rejected our demands and SMEs will only be paid 70% of their hard earned income. “

In mockups posted by Facebook showing the feature in action, a message regarding Apple was displayed below the buy button. Another note, regarding Google’s Play Store and Google’s choice not to charge a fee, also had to be implemented – but both have been removed.

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“Unfortunately, Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax, but we’re still working to make that information available in the app experience,” Facebook told the post.

Facebook, it seems, has now joined Epic in criticizing Apple’s in-app purchase commission rates.

One battle that has been in the public eye for several weeks is the standoff between Epic Games and Apple, in which developer Fortnite fought hard and publicly against Apple’s sales “tax”.

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Epic released an update to its iOS app that bypassed Apple’s payment system and attempted to trick users into switching to the direct payment system in exchange for discounts. In response, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store and threatened to revoke Epic’s developer membership, which also reportedly impacted third-party developers using Epic’s Unreal Engine.

A US court has granted Epic a stay of membership in the Apple Developer Program through a temporary injunction preventing Apple from revoking Epic’s access to developer tools. However, Fortnite has not returned to the App Store and users recently missed an update due to spitting.

Epic has taken legal action against Apple and Google, the latter of which also removed Fortnite from its official App Store.

ZDNet has contacted Apple and will update when we have a response.

Prior and related coverage


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