Facebook announced that it’s letting businesses, creators, artists, educators and media publishers generate cash from holding online events on the platform.
The social-media giant is promising to not collect any fees for paid online events for at least the next year. However, for payments Facebook users submit through the app for Apple’s iOS app, Apple will keep 30% of the revenue.
For transactions on the web, and on Android in countries where the social company has rolled out Facebook Pay, businesses and creators will keep 100% of the revenue they generate from paid online events.
For payments that go through Apple’s iOS, however, that’s not the case. Fidji Simo, VP, head of Facebook App, said in a statement, “We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests,” which means businesses and creators “will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue.” In addition, according to Facebook, if participants on the Android app use Google’s in-app payment system to purchase online events (rather that Facebook Pay), Google will keep 30% of the revenue.
Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Facebook released side-by-side images showing the purchasing screen on iOS (above left), informing users the Apple will collect 30% of the purchase price, and on Android via Facebook Pay (above right).
Facebook said businesses and users with Pages in the U.S. and 19 other countries that meet its partner-monetization policies can start charging for online events. Facebook users can check at this link to see of they’re eligible. Participants can set their own price for access to online events on Facebook.
“With social distancing mandates still in place, many businesses and creators are bringing their events and services online to connect with existing customers and reach new ones,” Simo said.
According to Facebook, in June 2020, live broadcasts from Pages doubled compared with a year prior. In Facebook’s testing of paid events, businesses have hosted “expert talks, trivia events, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets, fitness classes and more,” Simo said. Facebook also is testing paid events with Messenger Rooms, its recently launched video-chat service, “for more personal and interactive gatherings,” according to Simo.
Facebook’s complaint about the Apple App Store “tax” comes after Epic Games, maker of the hit game “Fortnite,” launched a lawsuit against Apple over the practice. Epic also is suing Google over its same requirement that developers use its own payment system for in-app purchases and pay a 30% commission.
For Facebook’s paid online events, those who host events will receive payouts once per month after they cross a minimum balance of $100.
Paid online events are currently available to eligible Facebook Pages in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.K. and the U.S.