Facebook tried to tell ticket buyers about App Store tax and Apple said no

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The Apple App Store is the subject of much controversy which seems to grow more bizarre by the day.

The latest peculiarity involves Facebook which recently launched a way for users to buy tickets to online events for SMEs through the Facebook app.

Those who followed the recent Fortnite debacle can see where this is going.

Apple charges a 30 percent fee on all transactions through the App Store as developers are making use of the App Store’s payment systems. Facebook however approached Apple and asked that all money from sales go to the event organisers, a request Apple reportedly refused.

“We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs [small medium businesses] will only be paid 70 percent of their hard-earned revenue. While Facebook is waiving fees for paid online events we will make other fees clear in the product,” Facebook said earlier this month.

As such, Facebook wanted to make it clear that it wasn’t taking a cut of ticket sales but wanted to clarify that Apple would take 30 percent of the sale.

That should fine right? Letting consumers know that only a fraction of the money they are spending goes to the small business is a good thing right?

Apple disagreed.

Because Facebook’s app now featured this disclosure it violated an App Store rule that doesn’t let developers show irrelevant information to users.

As such this warning is not visible.

We’d argue that letting folks know that 30 percent of the money they think is going to an SME is actually going to line Apple’s pocket is relevant and Facebook agrees.

“Now more than ever, we should have the option to help people understand where money they intend for small businesses actually goes. 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,” the social network told Reuters.

Whether Facebook will stoke Apple’s ire like Epic Games did remains to be seen but we have to think that adding this transparency notice to its app after the fact won’t end well.

That having been said whether Facebook will tempt fate enough to get removed from the App Store is not something we see Mark Zuckerberg doing.

Stranger things have happened though, it is 2020 after all.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.