Facebook ‘s comments come in the wake of a blockbuster lawsuit on Thursday from the video game phenomenon Fortnite creator Epic Games which accused Apple of abusing its online marketplace monopoly status.
San Francisco, United States: On Friday, Facebook joined the attack on its App Store’s Apple operation after the iPhone maker refused to forgo its commission on live online events hosted on the social network that would allow people to make money during the pandemic.
Facebook said it would not collect any fees from paid online events that teachers, entertainers, or others could host because of a fresh addition to the platform, but that Apple declined to withdraw from its standard share of transactions handled through the App Store.
“We asked Apple to reduce its App Store tax by 30 percent or to encourage us to offer Facebook Pay in order to cover all costs for companies struggling during COVID-19,” Facebook vice president Fidji Simo said in a blog post. “Unfortunately, both our demands were rejected and (small and medium-sized enterprises) just 70 per cent of their hard-earned revenue will be paid.”
Facebook has introduced the latest paid event feature in response to the global coronavirus pandemic which has caused several in-person events to be cancelled. The feature makes the use of Facebook Live Streaming service to create, promote, and host paid events, from concerts and theatre performances to yoga classes and cooking lessons.
According to Simo, it is being developed for use at the Messenger community video chat function Rooms with “more intimate gatherings”. Simo said, “Most companies and developers are taking their activities and services online with social distancing requirements still in place to communicate with current customers and meet new ones”.
Criticism of Facebook comes despite heightened criticism of Apple ‘s practices for its online marketplace. Apple has defended the commission to cover the costs of running the App Store and safeguarding customers, but critics argue the commission is a misuse of its position.
Fortnite’s new update features a payment mechanism that enables player purchases to bypass Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play, stopping corporations from taking a usual 30 per cent cut. Fortnite tried to guide users across the App Store and found themselves kicked off the site and Epic lodged an anti-trust lawsuit immediately.
The game-maker called on a federal judge to order Apple to end its “anti-competitive conduct” and invalidate the rules of the tech giant forcing software developers to pay 30% of transactions to the company. The suit said Epic is not seeking preferential treatment but is asking the court to order Apple to modify the framework of its commission for all developers.
Apple said Fortnite had been removed after “Epic Games took the unfortunate step of breaching the App Store guidelines that are applied fairly to each developer and designed to keep our users safe in the store.”