Apple and Facebook Discussed Ad Revenue Sharing at One Point: Report

Apple and Facebook could have become business partners in what would have been an extremely lucrative advertising venture — reports The Wall Street Journal.

According to the publication, Apple proposed several ad revenue-sharing arrangements to Facebook over the years. Apple execs reportedly said they wanted to “build businesses together.”

The two tech giants even discussed the possibility of an ad-free, subscription-based version of the Facebook app. Apple would net a sizable 30% of the subscription revenue from such an app.

Facebook, which rebranded itself to Meta last year, never agreed to any of Apple’s proposals.

Boosted posts on Facebook and Instagram were another bone of contention between the two tech giants. Facebook and Instagram users can pay to “boost” posts, increasing their visibility on the platforms. Whether Apple was entitled to a cut of revenue from boosted posts was another

What Apple saw as an in-app purchase, which it would be entitled to a cut of, Facebook saw as advertising. Apple does not take a cut out of developers’ advertising revenue.

All of this happened before Apple ever introduced its App Tracking Transparency framework, which lets iPhone and iPad users choose whether apps like Facebook are allowed to track their activity across other apps, last year.

Facebook claims Apple’s new privacy measures will cost it around $10 billion USD in ad revenue per year. The company’s advertising income has taken a significant hit since the changes, as more and more advertisers are switching to Apple to better cater to their iOS audiences.

One developer recently alleged that Facebook and Instagram are using their custom in-app browsers to circumvent App Tracking Transparency and track users anyway. Meta has vehemently refuted the claims.

“Every day, we meet and collaborate with developers of all sizes to make suggestions, address concerns, and help them continue to grow their businesses,” an Apple spokesperson said about the company’s past partnership talks with Facebook.

They also noted that the rules for app developers like Facebook are “applied equally to all developers because we think that fair enforcement results in the best user experience.”

“There is no connection between any discussions of partnerships and the ad-tracking changes that were later implemented,” another Apple representative said.

You can read the full report over at The Wall Street Journal.

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