Facebook Calls Out Apple On Fees, Transparency

Facebook Inc. alleges Apple demanded it remove a message in its app which told customers about the computer giant’s 30 percent cut of online sales for its new events feature.

Reuters reported Apple cited an App Store rule that prohibits developers from revealing “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 told the news service in a statement. “Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30 percent tax, but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience.”

Apple did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The skirmish between the two technology giants comes as Facebook planned to unveil a new tool that would allow businesses and influencers to present paid online events to offset the loss of revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But when the social media conglomerate asked Apple to waive the 30 percent commission it charges for AppStore purchases, Apple said no.

Facebook said it simply wanted to let users know about Apple’s fee, but Reuters discovered the message was not posted on the new events feature. In addition, Facebook had also planned to tell users that the Google Play store would not collect a fee for ticket sales.

But that message too had been deleted.

This is the newest public skirmish Apple has faced in recent weeks over its commissions.

Earlier this month, Fortnite maker Epic Games filed suit against Apple in U.S. District Court of Northern California, alleging its practices are anti-competitive.

That fight came as Epic Games unveiled a payment platform crafted to bypass the App Store’s payment system and its 30 percent commission.

Apple responded in a court filing alleging Epic Games was violating App Store rules and wanted special treatment.

In a temporary split decision this week, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled the global consumer electronics and computer software company can’t block the game maker from accessing Unreal Engine tools, a popular game engine developed by Epic that is used to build 3-D games on Apple platforms.

But the court denied the North Carolina game maker’s motion to restore its Fortnite game to the App Store.

A full decision is expected soon.

“Epic Games and Apple are at liberty to litigate against each other, but their dispute should not create havoc to bystanders,” Rogers wrote in a ruling.

Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon are facing state and federal inquiries over alleged anti-competitive behavior.