Apple has quietly changed the rules in its App Store. So-called social media boosts will be considered in-app purchases in the future. This means that Apple can charge a commission of 30 percent for ads on Facebook, Instagram and the like.

According to Apple, paying for so-called social media boosts will be considered an in-app purchase in the future. This is the first time the U.S. company has demanded a share of advertising revenue within social media. This is because the company charges a commission of 30 percent on in-app purchases.

This means that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Co. will have to cede part of their revenue to Apple in the future. Facebook parent company Meta in particular sharply criticized the new app store rules. According to the Bloomberg news agency, a company spokesman said that Apple is thus “undermining other companies in the digital economy”.

Apple: Social media ads are now in-app purchases

The new guidelines in the App Store only became known a few days ago. Apple, meanwhile, held back on making an announcement. But other companies reacted promptly. Meta, for example, said in a statement:

Apple used to say it doesn’t take a cut of developers’ ad revenue, and has now apparently changed its mind. We remain committed to providing small businesses with easy ways to advertise and grow their business in our apps.

The iPhone company countered, saying that the new rules are based on existing policies in the App Store. It also said other vendors already comply with them. In a statement, the company said:

For many years, App Store policies have been clear that the sale of digital goods and services within an app must be made through in-app purchases. Boosting, where an individual or business can pay to increase the reach of a post or profile, is a digital service – so of course an in-app purchase is required.

Meta loses billions over new app tracking rules

When influencers promote their posts via Instagram and the like and pay to reach more people, Apple will demand a 30 percent share of the social media companies’ advertising revenue in the future. How they will deal with the new guidelines is still unclear.

However, it would be possible for the platform operators to pass on some of the losses to advertisers. Nevertheless, the new app store rules are controversial. Critics complain that Apple is abusing its market power with them. The company previously changed its app tracking rules.

Accordingly, companies must explicitly ask their users for permission when they collect data. Since Meta in particular relies on such data to serve ads, the Facebook group lost massive amounts of revenue. According to estimates, the rules will reduce the company’s revenue by ten billion US dollars this year alone.