Facebook Accuses Apple of 'Undercutting Others' With App Store Guidelines on Boosted Posts

Alongside the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple updated its App Store Guidelines to clearly state that apps such as Facebook that offer "boosts" for posts and other ad content must use in-app purchases for these features. Facebook parent company Meta is not happy with Apple's guideline tweak, and in a statement to The Verge, said that Apple is creating policies to bolster its own business while undercutting others.

Facebook Feature

"Apple continues to evolve its policies to grow their own business while undercutting others in the digital economy. Apple previously said it didn't take a share of developer advertising revenue, and now apparently changed its mind. We remain committed to offering small businesses simple ways to run ads and grow their businesses on our apps."

Facebook allows companies and individuals to pay to "Boost" a post that is performing well, getting it in front of more potential viewers and customers. Prior to the guideline update, Apple said multiple times that digital content sold within apps must be sold through in-app purchases, but Facebook has not followed that rule.

When boosting a post in the Facebook app for iOS, in-app purchase is not required. A boosted post is paid for through a credit card, debit card, PayPal, or a bank account, which means Apple is not getting a cut of the money that businesses and advertisers pay to Facebook. Instagram also uses direct purchase, but other social media networks like Twitter and TikTok use in-app purchases for similar post boosting features.

Facebook and Instagram have used the same direct purchase option for boosts for years, and Apple has let Meta get away with it. The Wall Street Journal, in fact, detailed the private dispute between Apple and Meta over the issue back in August.

While Apple had rules surrounding digital purchases prior to the revamped guidelines, the new wording calls out boosted posts specifically, though the text is listed at the bottom of a rule about ad management apps that do not display ads themselves.

"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."

An Apple spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that Apple previously had a clear guideline requiring digital goods and services to use in-app purchases, but there was no explanation on why Apple has tweaked the wording of the guideline, nor why Facebook has not been made to comply.

"For many years now, the App Store guidelines have been clear that the sale of digital goods and services within an app 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."

It is unclear if the guideline changes implemented yesterday represent Apple taking a firmer stance against Facebook and Instagram, but if Apple does start taking a cut of boosted posts, Facebook will likely pass the added cost along to the individuals and businesses that use the boost feature.

Top Rated Comments

scheinderrob Avatar
13 weeks ago
if facebook is complaining about something, the other party is doing something right
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
13 weeks ago
Why does Facebook still exist in this world? Facebook is only good at one thing. Invading Your Privacy! Stay Away!!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
13 weeks ago

I gave up trying to understand this about halfway through, but it’s easy enough to just think Facebook is in the wrong. Their business is to suck up user data without explicit consent.

Wahhhh Facebook.
Can’t wait till Facebook reports their revenue/profit has dropped once again. Guess who are they going to blame for that… Apple. Always looking for an excuse. ?‍♀️
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scheinderrob Avatar
13 weeks ago

You might want to read that again. This is not just about Facebook.
might want to read my post again. my point stands.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JM Avatar
13 weeks ago
I gave up trying to understand this about halfway through, but it’s easy enough to just think Facebook is in the wrong. Their business is to suck up user data without explicit consent.

Wahhhh Facebook.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iDarth_Betar Avatar
13 weeks ago

Apple's in-app-payment rules are just as confusing as the tax code
This is what I’m visualizing…



Attachment Image
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone trade in

Apple Adjusts Trade-In Values for iPhones, Macs, and More

Wednesday January 25, 2023 9:40 am PST by
After announcing new Mac and HomePod models last week, Apple adjusted its trade-in values for select devices in the United States. iPhone trade-in values decreased by up to $80, and most Android smartphones also went down. Mac trade-in values remained unchanged or increased by up to $40 depending on the model, while some Apple Watch models increased in value and others decreased. Trade-in...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Expected Later This Year With These 7 Exclusive Features

Tuesday January 24, 2023 4:53 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least seven exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the seven features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...
Mac mini M2 2023

New 256GB Mac Mini and 512GB MacBook Pro Have Slower SSD Speeds Than Previous Models

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:11 pm PST by
While the new Mac mini with the M2 chip has a lower $599 starting price, the base model with 256GB of storage has slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the previous-generation model with the M1 chip and 256GB of storage. A teardown of the new Mac mini shared by YouTube channel Brandon Geekabit reveals that the 256GB model is equipped with only a single 256GB storage chip, while the...
apple tv 4k red image

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3

Tuesday January 24, 2023 10:10 am PST by
Apple today released tvOS 16.3, the third major point update to the tvOS 16 operating system that originally came out in September. Available for the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, tvOS 16.3 comes six weeks after tvOS 16.2, an update that added Apple Music Sing. The tvOS 16.3 update can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the ‌‌‌‌Apple TV‌‌‌‌ by going to System > Software...
watchOS 9 Feature

Apple Releases watchOS 9.3 With New Watch Face, Bug Fixes

Monday January 23, 2023 10:06 am PST by
Apple today released watchOS 9.3, the third major update to the watchOS 9 operating system that first launched in September. watchOS 9.3 comes over a month after watchOS 9.2, an update that added new Workout functionality and Crash Detection optimizations. watchOS 9.3 can be downloaded for free through the Apple Watch app on the iPhone by opening it up and going to General > Software Update. ...
iOS 16

iOS 16.3 for iPhone Launching Next Week With These 4 New Features

Friday January 20, 2023 11:43 am PST by
In a recent press release, Apple confirmed that iOS 16.3 will be released to the public next week. The software update will be available for the iPhone 8 and newer and includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped bigger features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for Apple ID accounts, worldwide ...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With the New M2 Pro Mac Mini

Tuesday January 24, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
The new M2-series MacBook Pro and Mac mini models launched today, marking the debut of the first M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. We have the M2 Pro Mac mini on hand, and thought we'd take a look at the machine and do a series of benchmarks to see how it fits into Apple's lineup. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Base model Mac mini machines come with either an M2 or M2 Pro...
Ventura Macs Feature Blue

Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.2

Monday January 23, 2023 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Ventura 13.2, the second major update to the macOS Ventura operating system initially released in October. macOS Ventura 13.2 comes more than a month after macOS Ventura 13.1, an update that added the Freeform app and other changes. The ‌macOS Ventura‌ 13.2 update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...