Apple has decided to temporarily forego the 30% cut of the action it takes from in-app purchases for Facebook’s in-app paid event feature, reports CNBC. Facebook has in the past said Apple hurts small businesses by collecting fees from the new feature, which allows users to attend online events and classes via Facebook.
Apple’s reversal comes weeks after it blocked an update to the Facebook app that displayed a warning to users that a cut of transactions for paid events would go to Apple. At the time, Facebook said Apple would not make an exception to its rules to give the full amount of the transactions to the businesses hosting the events. Facebook already waived its cut through its Facebook Pay system, and Google agreed not to take its standard 30% cut of the transactions through the Android version of the app.
The temporary policy reversal will also pertain to ClassPass and Airbnb, who are also offering new digital experiences and classes within their apps.
An Apple spokesperson told CNBC it reversed its decision on the Facebook event fees due to the pressures businesses are facing from the pandemic. Apple wants to give those businesses more time to adapt to digital business models.
The spokesperson also said its App Store rule that requires the 30% cut to Apple does not apply to ticket sales for real-world events, only digital events, and Facebook has until the end of the year to implement in-app payments for real-world events.
“The App Store provides a great business opportunity for all developers, who use it to reach half a billion visitors each week across 175 countries,” Apple said in a statement. “To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone.”
Facebook still expressed displeasure that Apple waiving of the fees are not applicable to gaming companies that sell online access to their events,
“This is a difficult time for small businesses and creators, which is why we are not collecting any fees from paid online events while communities remain closed for the pandemic,” Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne said in a statement. “Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30% App Store tax.”
Facebook plans to waive its own fees for the Paid Events feature through at least August 2021. Small businesses that set up online classes or events using the Facebook Paid Events feature in the Facebook app on an iOS device will now receive all of the fees paid by attending customers.