Facebook claims that Apple stopped it from telling users about the 30% commission Apple takes from sales in a new online events feature.
According to a Reuters report published Friday, Apple said its rules stop developers showing “irrelevant” information to users.
“Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes,” Facebook said in a statement. “Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience.”
Facebook announced earlier in August that it was planning a tool that would allow online influencers and other businesses to stage paid online events. This could help make up for some of the revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Facebook said it asked Apple whether it would drop the 30% fee it charges for in-app purchases. This would allow Facebook to pass on all revenue to business owners. However, Apple reportedly disagreed. Facebook planned to include a note to users about Apple’s cut, but Apple would not allow it. It ran into a similar problem on the Google Play Store, which also charges commission.
Facebook hits out at in-app purchase fees
This latest challenge of Apple’s App Store commission policy is reminiscent of another recent incident involving Airbnb and ClassPass. As both have started offering virtual events, they have been hit by Apple’s 30% commission demands.
Right now, it feels like lots of companies are piling on to add their voice to the anti-Apple throng. Apple, for its part, argues that it is entitled to take a cut of payments for those who use its App Store infrastructure. (Analysts like Above Avalon’s Neil Cybart have also suggested that the App Store may not be quite the money-printing machine some people think it is for Apple.)
However, with investigations of tech giants currently underway around the world the volume of complaints against Apple could potentially push regulators to act. Following the recent antitrust hearings, this week the Democrat leading the House antitrust investigation into companies including Apple (and Facebook for that matter!) said that these giants: “abuse … their market power to maintain their market dominance, to crush competitors, to exclude folks from their platform and to earn monopoly rents.”