Apple and Facebook Reportedly Discussed 'Revenue-Sharing' Ideas in Past

Facebook has been in a feud with Apple since the iPhone maker introduced its App Tracking Transparency feature that lets users opt out of being tracked across apps on its platforms. In the past, however, Apple reportedly discussed potential "revenue-sharing arrangements" with Facebook that could have given Apple a "slice of Facebook's revenue."

facebook tracking notification
According to The Wall Street Journal, which claims that most of the discussions occurred between 2016 and 2018, one idea that Apple discussed was Facebook creating a subscription-based version of its app without ads. Apple would have collected its standard 15% to 30% commission on Facebook's in-app subscriptions through the App Store, but Facebook ultimately decided against the idea, the report claims.

Apple allegedly also argued that the Facebook app's boosted post function, which allows Facebook pages to promote a post to a larger audience for a fee, should have been considered in-app purchases and thereby subjected to Apple's 30% commission.

In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said that the company routinely meets with developers of all sizes to discuss business matters:

"Every day, we meet and collaborate with developers of all sizes to make suggestions, address concerns, and help them continue to grow their businesses," said an Apple spokesman, who added that the rules for app developers like Facebook are "applied equally to all developers because we think that fair enforcement results in the best user experience."

A second Apple spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal there was "no connection between any discussions of partnerships and the ad-tracking changes that were later implemented," according to the report. App Tracking Transparency was implemented with the iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5 software updates released in April 2021.

App Tracking Transparency has resulted in $17.8 billion in lost revenue among Facebook, Twitter, Snap, and YouTube so far in 2022, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing an estimate by data management company Lotame.

The full report at The Wall Street Journal provides additional details about Apple's and Facebook's differing approaches to user privacy and more.

Top Rated Comments

BootsWalking Avatar
7 weeks ago
Tim Cook spoke out against Google and Facebook's privacy monetization practices in 2015. One company agreed to pay Apple $10 billion a year to stay in its good graces, the other turned Apple down and is now losing $10 billion a year in lost ad-targeting revenue after Apple changed the default app tracking setting in iOS. I hate Facebook with a passion but this just doesn't sit right with me. Either you're for privacy or not - it shouldn't be situational, based on whether someone hands you bags of money.
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
polyphenol Avatar
7 weeks ago
"Ask App Not to Track" is still wrong. It should be "Tell App Not to Track and Make Very Sure It Can't".
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
siddavis Avatar
7 weeks ago
So just like many of Apple’s recent privacy stances, it’s mostly just virtue signaling. Not really grounded in principle…
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
7 weeks ago

That is not how publicly traded (and most private) for profit companies work. Their job is to make the most money possible for their shareholders, not be bastions of morality for society. Any faith you put into a company to be so is very misplaced.
I'm fine with Apple maximizing profit. Just don't pretend to be a beacon of privacy protection at the same time you're making back-room deals with the companies you're publicly railing against for harvesting users' privacy.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
7 weeks ago
It will be best for the world and humanity if Facebook does not associate with Apple.

When it comes to privacy, I don't think Facebook has the same core values as Apple does.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KaliYoni Avatar
7 weeks ago
The last thing I want is some kind of business relationship between Meta/Facebook and Apple. That would be horrible for privacy and security. Then again, Mark Z's non-existent design sense and blinding lack of taste definitely could use a dose of Sir Jony (isn't LoveFrom taking non-Apple clients now?).
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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