Facebook tries to bypass the infamous 'Apple Tax' with a tool for content creators

Facebook tries to bypass the infamous 'Apple Tax' with a tool for content creators
Facebook has recently been making the headlines, first with the controversy with whistleblower Frances Haugen, then, with the company's name change and new priorities. Now, AppleInsider reports about another interesting endeavor Facebook has undertaken: trying to bypass the infamous 'Apple Tax' on the App Store.

A tool for content creators by Facebook is trying to bypass the 30% commission fee on the App Store

A new tool that's created for content creators and to help them earn money on Facebook is now rolled out by the company. Interestingly, the tool sidesteps Apple's 30% fee on purchases made via the App Store. There is a new feature with an in-app link that sends users to complete subscription purchases via Facebook Pay.

The tool itself allows creators to charge fans for content. However, the tool also allows for creators to use personalized "promotional links" and in this way to direct people away from the App Store, therefore keeping 100% of the price, without paying Apple a commission. These links can be shared through email and text, but they can also be integrated on creators' Facebook pages: thus appearing in the iOS Facebook app.

The App Store rules and guidelines currently forbid developers to bypass this fee, but in Facebook's case, it will be the creators themselves directing people to the alternative payment system, and not the developer of the Facebook app itself. Pretty much, Facebook is operating in uncharted waters. It is possible this endeavor would be found to break the App Store rules.

On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't believe so, and he stated that this strategy has always been allowed on iOS. Additionally, he stated that Apple's native payment system will also be offered when users sign up.

Zuckerberg stated that this is in a wider effort for offering content creators more ways to earn money for their work: and this is a primary objective for Meta, the new company brand and philosophy Zuckerberg has. He stated that the 30% fee taken by Apple on transactions on iPhones makes it harder for content creators to earn money, and the Subscriptions tool will allow creators to earn more.

This statement implies the App Store fee is hurting creators, not the social media giant itself. In the past, Zuckerberg has used a similar argument when raising his concerns against the App Tracking Transparency feature, introduced with iOS 14.5, which he said will hurt small businesses.

But this is not the only thing the tech giant has planned for content creators. Facebook won't be collecting a cut of subscription transactions until at least 2023, while at the same time the company will start paying creators a bonus between $5 and $20 for every new subscriber they get. This bonus doesn't depend on whether the subscriber was added through a custom web link, or from Apple or Google's systems.

An earnings calculator will show creators on Facebook a breakdown of their earnings and fees, including how much they pay to Apple and Google. And starting in December, Facebook creators will be able to download the emails of their subscribers directly from the company.

As many of you may have probably heard already, Apple has an ongoing lawsuit with Fortnite developer Epic Games, who bypassed the App Store payment system with an alternative link last year. The link was included in the popular game Fortnite and the action resulted in Apple taking the game off the App Store and then banning Epic's developer account. The judge on the case ordered Apple to allow developers to link to outside payment methods, and Cupertino has until December 9th to comply with the order. However, Apple has requested a stay while the ruling is appealed. The judge has not yet ruled on the stay request.
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