Facebook is launching a new events feature that allows site owners and organizers to create paid online events to fill the void created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the social media giant announced on Friday.
But there’s a catch: the platform will earn less for these sites and companies on iOS as Facebook says Apple refuses to waive its standard App Store fees or allow the company to use its own in-app payment processing system which it says would help the organizers keep more money they generate.
“We asked Apple to cut the App Store tax by 30% or offer Facebook Pay so we could cover all costs for companies struggling during COVID-1
“In order to support small businesses and developers, Facebook will not charge any fees for paid online events, at least for the next year,” adds Simo. “When it comes to online and Android transactions in countries where we have introduced Facebook Pay, small businesses keep 100% of the income from paid online events.” In a call to reporters on Friday, Simo further clarified that this policy would remain in place “while communities remain closed due to the pandemic”.
Due to the Apple fee, Facebook plans to flag online event ticket purchases on iOS with the new message “Apple will take over 30% of this purchase”. The company has submitted this change to Apple for review. However, a suggested image of the order flow was posted on his blog post announcing the new feature:
“In this case in particular, we think it is very important to be transparent when people support small businesses where their money flows,” said Simo in the call to reporters in response to a question from The edge via the proposed Apple label. “When people pay $ 20 for an online event, they think everything goes to a local company, when 30% goes to a company that is close to $ 2 trillion – that’s relevant information to people. We therefore felt it was important to point this out in the context of helping small businesses. ”
The new feature, which exists as part of the main Facebook app, is designed for page owners to “create an online event, set a price, promote the event, collect payments, and schedule the event in one place organize “, explains Simo in the blog post. The aim is to help small businesses and businesses in the entertainment and live events space get back to money after the devastating economic impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent closure of music venues, event spaces and other public gathering venues.
The post says Facebook saw live broadcasts of duplicate pages this June compared to that time last year. The company says sites in 20 countries around the world can start charging for online events starting today. You can find a list of permissions here.
This is only the second harsh condemnation from Apple we’ve seen from Facebook in the past week. It also joins a growing surge in anti-app store sentiment in the tech and games industries, referring to Apple’s app store policies and their rules that prohibit or restrict, such as game companies’ cloud services and custom in-app -May offer payment options. Just yesterday, Apple removed Epic Games’ Fourteen days from the App Store after Epic implemented its own in-app payment processing system that prompted Epic to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company (and also against Google).
Earlier this month, Facebook reprimanded Apple for forcing it to remove a key component of its new Facebook gaming app – the ability to play mini-games in the app, powered by its browser-based Instant Games platform – to keep the software in the app to approve business. Apple never made a formal statement. Instead, the company showed The edge and others to a section of the App Store Guidelines, Section 4.7, which dictates how developers can implement HTML5-based games in their apps. It appears that Facebook’s use of in-app mini-games violates these rules in some way, although it is not clear which one in particular.
“Even in the main Facebook app and in Messenger, we were forced to bury instant games under iOS for years,” said Vivek Sharma, head of Facebook Gaming, in a statement The edge back then. “This is a common pain across the gaming industry that ultimately hurts gamers and developers, and significantly hinders innovation on mobile devices for other types of formats such as cloud gaming.”
Facebook said it even tried to challenge that section of the App Store’s policies under a new rule Apple introduced at this year’s WWDC after software company Basecamp publicly dusted its new Hey email service. Instead, Facebook says Apple gave him the cold shoulder. “We even appealed the directive as part of the new app review process announced at WWDC,” said a Facebook spokesman The edge. “We did not get an answer.”
Update Aug. 14, 3:39 p.m. ET: Added quotes from Facebook app boss Fidji Simo from a call with reporters on Friday afternoon.