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Facebook Says Apple Blocked It From Informing About App Store 30% Fee

By Eric Volkman – Aug 28, 2020 at 3:55PM

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Facebook wanted to tell Apple device users that a new paid-online events feature in its app would incur the charge.

Facebook (META 2.16%) is accusing Apple (AAPL 3.08%) of effectively censoring a notice it tried to impart to its users. On Friday, the social media giant claimed that Apple rejected the inclusion of a warning that the latter company would take 30% of sales in a paid-online events feature Facebook is rolling out in an update of its app.

According to Facebook, Apple cited a provision in its App Store rule prohibiting developers from conveying "irrelevant" information.

Facebook was launching the feature within its latest update for its app on Apple's iOS mobile operating system. The feature allows users to create for-pay online events, and is intended to help businesses and people recoup some revenue lost from activities now limited by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Facebook, it asked Apple to waive its fee for these users, but the company refused.

Woman in protective mask using a smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

"Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes," Facebook said in a statement that was disseminated in various media. "Unfortunately Apple rejected our transparency notice around their 30% tax but we are still working to make that information available inside the app experience."

Reuters, which originally broke the story, said that Facebook had originally planned to publish a similar message for its update on Alphabet's Google Play store. That message did not appear in the update that ultimately appeared on the store. However, Facebook has not made any public statements about that situation, nor has Alphabet.

Similarly, Apple has not offered comment on Facebook's accusations.

In mid-afternoon trading on Friday, neither company was keeping pace with the gains of the broader stock market. Apple was a laggard with its modest 0.2% gain, while Facebook was trading down 0.4%.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman owns shares of Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Apple, and Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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