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Facebook, Instagram to pass on Apple service fees for boosted posts to users

Additionally, users will have to add prepaid funds to their account to boost posts from the iOS apps rather than being charged after their boosted posts run.

What’s the news: Facebook and Instagram users who advertise by boosting their posts will have to pay 30 percent more if they boost posts from their Facebook and Instagram iOS apps because of Apple’s service fees, Meta informed on February 15. These users can avoid this increased fee by boosting posts through web browsers on mobile or desktop, it added.

Additionally, users will have to add prepaid funds to their account to boost posts from the iOS apps rather than being charged after their boosted posts run. “If an advertiser adds these prepaid funds within the Facebook or Instagram iOS app, the Apple service charge will apply. If an advertiser chooses to add prepaid funds from their payment settings using their desktop computers or preferred mobile web browsers, they can then use these funds to boost content from any tool, including from the Instagram or Facebook iOS apps, without incurring fees,” Meta clarified.

What are boosted posts? “Boosted posts are a low-barrier-to-entry advertising product that businesses can use to quickly promote a piece of content without needing to set up a full campaign in Ads Manager. This feature is particularly used by small businesses, who may use boosted posts as their only form of advertising across Facebook and Instagram,” Meta explained.

Why this change now: This is the result of a 2022 App Store update where Apple said that “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.” The use of in-app purchases, in turn, imposes a 30 percent service fee. While Apple clarified this explicitly in 2022 in the context of boosted posts, it has always maintained that digital purchases of digital goods and services within apps 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,” Apple spokesperson Adam Dema told The Verge.

When does it go into effect: This change comes into effect later this month for US users and later this year for international users.

Haven’t developers challenged Apple’s service fees: Apple’s high service fees are developers’ foremost concern and the subject of regulatory scrutiny around the world, but the company doesn’t seem to be backing down. In the US, Epic had taken Apple to court on this, but the judge ruled that the service fees are Apple’s prerogative and the court cannot ask it to change the fees. In the EU, the Digital Markets Act allows developers to use alternative billing systems for in-app purchases, but Apple is charging a commission even when developers do this. In India, the competition regulator is looking into the complaints of high fees charged by Apple, but in a similar case filed against Google Play, it did not order Google to lower fees.

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