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Apple responds to Meta’s criticism of App Store rules for in-app ‘boosts’ purchases

 

In a blog post on Thursday, Meta announced changes to how advertisers pay for “boosted posts” on Facebook and Instagram. According to the company, advertisers will now pay a 30% fee when they purchase boosts from inside the Facebook or Instagram apps on iPhone. This is due to changes to the App Store guidelines that went into effect over a year ago.

In a statement to 9to5Mac, Apple responded to Meta’s criticism and its attempt to shift the blame to Apple.

 

Apple’s statement:

“We have always required that purchases of digital goods and services within apps must use In-App Purchase. Boosting, which allows an individual or organization to pay to increase the reach of a post or profile, is a digital service — so of course In-App Purchase is required. This has always been the case and there are many examples of apps that do it successfully.”

Apple tells me that it worked extensively with Meta over the past year to give them time and opportunity to comply with the App Store Guidelines. The separate Meta Ads Manager app also remains available from the App Store and allows businesses to pay for advertising without using Apple’s In-App Purchase system.

The App Store Guideline in question, which officially went into effect in October 2022, explains:

Advertising Management Apps: Apps for the sole purpose of allowing advertisers (persons or companies that advertise a product, service, or event) to purchase and manage advertising campaigns across media types (television, outdoor, websites, apps, etc.) do not need to use in-app purchase. These apps are intended for campaign management purposes and do not display the advertisements themselves.

Digital purchases for content that is experienced or consumed in an app, including buying advertisements to display in the same app (such as sales of “boosts” for posts in a social media app) must use in-app purchase.

In its blog post, Meta said that it is required to “either comply with Apple’s guidelines, or remove boosted posts from our apps.”

We are required to either comply with Apple’s guidelines, or remove boosted posts from our apps. We do not want to remove the ability to boost posts, as this would hurt small businesses by making the feature less discoverable and potentially deprive them of a valuable way to promote their business.

Facebook adds that businesses can purchase boosts on the Facebook or Instagram websites to avoid paying the 30% fee:

Specifically, advertisers can access Facebook.com and Instagram.com on both desktop computers or a mobile web browser to boost their content. When doing this, they will have all the same features as boosting posts from the iOS apps, except now they will avoid the Apple service charge.

Another change according to Meta is that businesses on iOS will now be required to pay in advance for boosts if they go through the Facebook or Instagram apps. In the past, businesses were charged after their boosted posts ran.

More details are available on Facebook’s website.

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