Facebook Won't Add News Subscription Service to iOS App Due to Apple's 30% Cut

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Facebook is planning to introduce a feature that will let publishers sell subscriptions to their news sites directly on Facebook, but subscription purchases won't be available on iOS devices because Apple and Facebook are having trouble working out terms, reports Recode.

The feature will add paywalls to some articles in the Facebook news feed, directing users to the publisher's site to purchase a subscription. Apple wants to take a standard 30 percent cut of any subscription revenue brought in through the Facebook iOS app, while Facebook wants all of the money to go directly to publishers.


Facebook and Apple have reportedly been "discussing the impasse" for several months, and Facebook has decided to go ahead with a version of the feature that will only be available on Android phones. Facebook will be working with publishers like Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst (The Houston Chronicle and The San Francisco Chronicle), La Repubblica, Le Parisien, Spiegel, The Telegraph, tronc (The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Diego Union-Tribune), and The Washington Post.

Through its subscription rules, Apple can take up to 30 percent of subscription revenue from in-app sales, though that number drops after a person has subscribed to a service on an iOS device for more than a year.

News subscription services won't be purchased directly on Facebook, but Apple still considers the feature to be an "in-app" purchase. Google does not plan to take a cut of subscriptions made through the Facebook for Android app.

In a statement to Recode, Facebook said it is "committed to this effort" and "optimistic" that a test will expand to "all mobile platforms" in the near future.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
38 months ago
And nothing of value is lost.

And I prefer Apple News to be the delivery vehicle for such service.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago

I'm still shocked Apple doesn't have anti-trust lawsuits by now.

If you’re shocked then I suspect you don’t understand these laws. Apple doesn’t owe anyone “shelf space” without a fee. Those data centers didn’t get built on unicorn wishes.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
Let’s me get this straight. Facebook wants to add the ability to pay for news that is easily gettable anywhere and wants Apple to give them a distribution channel, but since Apple doesn’t work for free they are only going to fleece people on Android. And we are supposed to feel bad about this? Haha
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago

Not like most would have paid to read articles on Facebook anyways. Why pay to read things available free elsewhere? This is the concept newspapers that try to require subscriptions don't seem to gather either.

You pay if it’s good content you can’t get elsewhere.

Anyway Apple should only get a cut in instances where it’s clear the iOS platform is driving traffic. And they shouldn’t get a recurring cut of monthly subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify. Especially when they’re not hosting content.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
Why would anyone believe anything on Facebook (ok maybe from your friends) or buy anything there anyway? It has already been shown that they show false political ads and anything else that someone gives them money for. Apple charge any amount that FB won't agree to.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
38 months ago
Not like most would have paid to read articles on Facebook anyways. Why pay to read things available free elsewhere? This is the concept newspapers that try to require subscriptions don't seem to gather either.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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