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Facebook knocks Apple's in-app purchase fees for hurting small businesses

Facebook knocks Apple's in-app purchase fees for hurting small businesses
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Facebook on Friday chastised Apple for not waiving its revenue-sharing fee, saying that it has hurt small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The criticism comes as Facebook introduced a new paid events feature in 20 countries Friday. The new tool allows users to charge for live-streamed videos, such as a workout class.

The feature is designed to use the company's own payment system, Facebook Pay, for transactions, but Apple didn't agree to waive the 30 percent fee that it charges apps that process transactions on its devices. It also rejected Facebook using its in-app pay system.

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“We went through our usual channels to suggest strongly to them to waive their fee or to let us use Facebook Pay -- one of the two -- and they declined,” Fidji Simo, head of Facebook’s main app, told Bloomberg. Simo added that Apple was an important business partner, but that Facebook didn't agree with its revenue-sharing policy.

“Helping small businesses recover from Covid is a critical thing that all tech companies should help with,” she said. “The reason we’re calling them out here is we hope they join us and end up waving their fees, so that’s really the goal here.”

The executive noted that Facebook would not be taking any cut of the revenue generated from its new feature.

The Hill has reached out to Apple for comment.

While Google charges a similar 30 percent fee on its Android devices, it is allowing Facebook to circumvent the charge by processing transactions through Facebook Pay.

Facebook isn't the only company that has complained about Apple's fee, though. On Thursday, Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite, sued both Apple and Google after the companies earlier in the week removed the game from their online stores over a revenue-sharing dispute.
 
Fortnite had introduced an update that allowed players to directly pay Epic Games for in-game purchases, skirting around Apple and Google policy.