Facebook claims Apple tried to block it telling users of App Store fee

28 Aug 2020

Image: © prima91/Stock.adobe.com

Facebook said Apple blocked a message telling users of a 30pc App Store fee on sales in a new product.

Following Epic Games’ attempts to take on Apple regarding the 30pc cut on sales through the App Store, Facebook is now criticising the multitrillion-dollar company. Earlier this month, Facebook announced it was to launch a new tool that would allow influencers and online businesses to make extra money during the Covid-19 pandemic by hosting paid events online.

However, speaking with Reuters, the social network has now claimed that when it attempted to tell iOS users that Apple would be taking a 30pc cut of all generated revenue through the tool, Apple blocked the message. In a statement, Facebook said Apple pointed to an App Store clause that states developers cannot show “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.

“Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30pc tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience.”

Facebook also claimed that it asked Apple to waive the 30pc fee, but it refused. Reuters said that Apple did not respond for comment.

Growing tension

It comes just days after Facebook said Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 operating system may significantly impact its developer ad platform, Audience Network.

As Bloomberg reported, Apple announced in June that from iOS 14 onwards, app developers must clearly place a warning label on apps if they are using Identification for Advertisers (IDFA) code linked to individual devices. IDFA is used by many developers to track ad performance across devices and target users with specific campaigns.

Facebook claimed that the ability to deliver targeted ads on iOS 14 “will be limited” and could see revenue for publishers on its Audience Network drop by 50pc. However, it claimed that the move will have “less impact” on its own business.

In a blog post, Facebook said: “This is not a change we want to make, but unfortunately Apple’s updates to iOS 14 have forced this decision.

“We know this may severely impact publishers’ ability to monetise through Audience Network on iOS 14, and, despite our best efforts, may render Audience Network so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14 in the future.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic