Apple Responds to Meta's Plan to Charge 30% Fee on Boosted Posts Purchased Through App Store

In October 2022, Apple updated its App Store Review Guidelines to clarify that sales of "boosted" posts in social media apps must use the App Store's in-app purchase system. Apple thereby receives up to a 30% cut of these sales.

Facebook Feature
As a result of that clarification, Meta today announced that it will soon charge advertisers a 30% fee when they purchase boosted posts through the Facebook and Instagram apps for iOS. This policy will allow Meta to offset the amount that it will owe Apple for each sale — it is essentially passing on the added cost to its customers. Advertisers who purchase boosted posts through the iOS apps will also now be required to pay in advance, whereas Meta typically collects payment for boosted posts after they are shown.

Meta said this change will take effect in the U.S. later this month, and in additional countries later this year. Advertisers can avoid the 30% fee and prepayment by purchasing boosted posts on the web at Facebook.com and Instagram.com.

"We are required to either comply with Apple's guidelines, or remove boosted posts from our apps," said Meta, in a press release today. "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."

Meta previously said that "Apple continues to evolve its policies to grow their own business while undercutting others in the digital economy."

Millions of small businesses use boosted posts on Facebook and Instagram, according to Meta. A boosted post is a key advertising tool for businesses, allowing them to reach larger audiences on Facebook and Instagram in exchange for payment.

Apple Responds

In response to Meta's announcement, Apple said App Store apps have always been required to use its in-app purchase system for the sale of digital goods and services.

"We have always required that purchases of digital goods and services within apps must use In-App Purchase," said Apple, in a statement shared with MacRumors today. "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."

If boosted posts have always been considered a digital service, it is unclear why Apple has allowed Meta to directly charge advertisers for many years, and it did not respond when we asked for an explanation. At a minimum, it appears that Apple has allowed Meta to circumvent the App Store's in-app purchase system for boosted posts since clarifying its App Store Review Guidelines in October 2022. That grace period is clearly ending now.

As part of its response, Apple said it has indeed given Meta ample opportunity to comply with the App Store Review Guidelines as they are currently written.

Apple added that businesses have the option to use the Meta Ads Manager app on iOS to set up and pay for their ad campaigns without using the App Store's in-app purchase system, as this app complies with the App Store Review Guidelines, which permit apps designed for the sole purpose of managing ad campaigns to offer direct payment options.

Update: In response to our inquiry, Apple said when it finds that an app is out of compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines, its general approach is to work with the developer to help bring them into compliance with the rules.

Top Rated Comments

indychris Avatar
9 weeks ago
I absolutely loathe Meta, but I can't help but side with them on this. If it's fair for Apple to charge Meta, then it's fair for Meta to charge users. Is anyone actually shocked or bothered by this? I'm surprised it took them this long.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
9 weeks ago

Apple: "We have always required that purchases of digital goods and services within apps must use In-App Purchase,"
Which is total BS and you should stop


As part of its response, Apple said it has indeed given Meta ample opportunity to comply with the App Store Review Guidelines as they are currently written.
Apple acts like the mob
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
augustrushrox Avatar
9 weeks ago
Apple has a legal reckoning coming for it.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
9 weeks ago

It's a clever play by Meta, though; we are only doing it to recover what Apple forces us to pay, no profit, just covering a fee that Apple charges.
Can you blame them?
I'd also pass on the Apple Extortion Fee to Apple Customers

The one who needs heat from their own customres about the extortion fees .... is Apple
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
9 weeks ago

When the App Store was first opened, Steve and the Gang settled on 30% because they presumed there would be a "race to the bottom" on pricing where USD 0.99 would be the standard price and credit card processing fees were USD 0.30 at the time for said amount (so Apple effectively broke even).

But as the transaction price rises, the percentage of said fees drops and Apple should really pass much of those savings on (since they do deserve to make a profit).
The problem is that Apple got drunk on the drink of an outrageously inappropriate 30% cut of everything

Only legal intervention will ever get them off this sauce
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dontwalkhand Avatar
9 weeks ago
I am sorry Apple, I am a huge Apple fan, but maybe realize that 30% is way too much of a commission to ask? Imagine if you go to a grocery store and find out that their credit card company charges the store 30% to accept the card payment. It sounds ridiculous, because it is ridiculous. This fee should be 10% TOPS.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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