In the latest move to get around Apple’s 30% App Store commission, Facebook is launching custom web links for creators to take payments with “Facebook Pay.” As it stands today, it seems the maneuver is allowed via an App Store rules gray area and Facebook is even giving bonuses to creators who use the new option for the holiday quarter.

Facebook and Apple have been at each others’ throats for years and one of the recent scuffles has been the fees paid to Apple when creators sell online events, subscriptions, and more through Facebook.

When the pandemic started, Facebook committed to eliminating commission fees through 2024 for creators. While Apple initially said it wouldn’t be joining Facebook in that, it did coalesce but not for near as long as Facebook hoped.

The latest move from Facebook in this battle was laid out in a blog post today (via The Verge):

Keep what you earn

Earlier this year, as part of our commitment to supporting creators, we shared that Facebook would not collect any fees from creators on Subscriptions purchases until 2023, at the earliest. Creators, however, must still forfeit 15-30% of their earnings to companies like Apple whenever people purchase Subscriptions within the Facebook app on mobile devices. For recurring payments like subscriptions, this adds up quickly since that fee is paid every single month.

The new loophole Facebook is offering creators is custom links for customers to complete their subscription purchase with “Facebook Pay.”

Starting today, we’re offering creators the ability to direct people to a website to complete their Subscriptions purchase using Facebook Pay. When people purchase Subscriptions from this website on web or mobile, creators will be able to keep 100% of the money they earn, excluding taxes. Creators can find their personalized promotional link in Creator Studio, which they can share with their audiences, including over email or text.

Facebook promotes the approach as a way to “own the relationship with your subscribers” and is even incentivizing creators to use the links with bonuses ranging from $5 to $20 for each new subscriber that joins via a custom link through the end of 2021 (maximum bonuses of $10,000.)

Like it’s done before, Facebook shared a revenue summary showing fees that creators can avoid with the strategy:

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared the following about the new way to avoid App Store fees:

As we build for the metaverse, we’re focused on unlocking opportunities for creators to make money from their work. The 30% fees that Apple takes on transactions make it harder to do that, so we’re updating our Subscriptions product so now creators can earn more. More details in the comments below

As detailed by The Verge, here’s how the approach works (for now anyway):

Facebook is operating in a gray zone under Apple’s rules for the App Store, though a spokesperson said the social network believes its approach has always been allowed on iOS. The App Store currently forbids iOS apps from offering alternative payment options for purchasing digital goods, but in this case, it’s the creator, not Facebook, the app developer, that will be sending people to pay for a subscription on the web. The spokesperson for Facebook confirmed the social network isn’t removing the ability for users to sign up for a creator subscription using Apple’s native payments system.

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