Apple Gives Facebook Event Producers Temporary Fee Reprieve

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Apple has temporarily suspended its usual 30 percent assessment on fees users pay to small businesses that host what Facebook calls “Paid Online Events,” The Verge reported Friday (Sept. 25).

Facebook launched Paid Online Events to give small businesses a way to make money after COVID-19 made selling tickets impossible.

The social media giant also told customers through its app about Apple’s 30 percent assessment on fees — a move Facebook executives said drew the ire of their Apple counterparts.

Apple has been under fire from a broad spectrum of tech executives and activists over its policy of demanding a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases. Major gaming companies and other developers have accused the company of taking a greedy cut. Some of the critics banded together to form a group called the “Coalition for App Fairness” that went public Thursday (Sept. 24).

Apple responded to the mounting criticism in several ways, including by releasing a company-commissioned report on July 22 that states in part: “Our study shows that Apple’s App Store commission rate is similar in magnitude to the commission rates charged by many other app stores and digital content marketplaces. The commission rates charged by digital marketplaces most similar to the App Store, such as other app stores and video game digital marketplaces, are generally around 30 percent.”

The dust-up over fees related to in-app purchases was among was among the reasons members of Congress cited in mid-summer when scheduling hearings on tech company market power.

In the case of the Facebook events squabble, The Verge wrote, “Facebook says all businesses are eligible except Facebook Gaming creators and that the policy will also only last until the end of 2020. Apple confirmed the news to The Verge and said that collecting a fee from apps offering services that take place outside the app itself is a long-held App Store policy.”

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