Apple to Take 30% Cut from Social Media App “Promoted” Posts

Apple on Monday updated its App Store Review Guidelines to require social media apps to start selling “boosted” posts as in-app purchases (via MacRumors).

Most social networks allow users to “boost” their posts for a price, increasing their visibility on the platform. Boosted posts are often used as an alternative to or in conjunction with running outright ads for maximum reach.

The change means that Apple will now collect up to 30% of the revenue from promoted posts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Up until now, social networks were able to sell “boosts” for posts on their platforms directly to users. That made it so the transactions were exempt from Apple’s 30% commission on app sales and in-app purchases.

Last month, Apple’s headquarters in South Korea were raided by the country’s antitrust regulator over complaints that the company was charging a whopping 33% commission on all transactions made through the App Store.

Apple clarified that Advertising Management Apps, which let users “purchase and manage advertising campaigns across media types” and don’t display advertisements themselves, won’t be subject to these new rules.

Instead, the guidelines only apply to “digital purchases for content that is experienced or consumed in an app, including buying advertisements to display in the same app.”

Back when Apple and Facebook were discussing the possibility of sharing ad revenue, whether or not Apple deserved a cut of boosted posts was reportedly a major point of contention between the two giants.

There’s a lot more to Apple’s revised App Store guidelines than simply changing how promoted posts are handled.

For starters, developers are now required to provide the App Review team with full access to an app when submitting it to the App Store, complete with an active demo account or demo mode for apps that include account-based features.

In addition, the App Store rules now prohibit apps from directing users to purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from outside the app or using NFT ownership as a mechanism to unlock in-app features or functionality, the latter of which has been used as a way to bypass in-app purchases in the past.

Apps will still be allowed to sell NFTs and related services as in-app purchases.

Apps may use in-app purchase to sell and sell services related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as minting, listing, and transferring. Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app. Apps may allow users to browse NFT collections owned by others, provided that the apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.

As for apps like cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets that facilitate cryptocurrency transactions, they will still be allowed as long as they only offer their services in countries where they have the appropriate licensing.