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Facebook launches paid online events, takes swipe at Apple over its App Store fees

Facebook launched today a new feature meant to help Page owners monetize their live streams. The new capability allows small and midsize businesses as well as creators to host online events and charge their viewers for a set amount of fee.

Page owners can create any type of events through Facebook Live, such as trivia events, podcasts, yoga sessions, cooking lessons, and fitness classes. Facebook is also testing paid online events with Messenger Rooms. This feature is available across 20 countries and only to Pages that are eligible to the platform's monetization policies. However, SMBs and creators will earn less on iOS after Apple denied Facebook's request to reduce its standard 30% App Store cut or allow the social networking site to bear the costs for them.

Fidji Simo, Vice President and Head of Facebook App, wrote in a blog post:

"We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue."

Nonetheless, Facebook will support small businesses and creators by waiving the fees from the revenue generated from paid online events for the next year. As for the fees collected by Apple, Facebook will label the event purchase page on iOS with a message that clearly states how much tax Apple is taking from the transaction. The company has submitted the feature's design on iOS to Apple for approval.

It's interesting to note that the new monetization tool comes after Facebook called out Apple last week for its App Store's policies on games. These policies resulted in the removal of in-app instant games from Facebook Gaming when it was launched on iOS since the App Store limits apps from running games that have not been reviewed by Apple. Those features are available on Android, though.

Today's announcement makes Facebook the latest company to take a swipe at Apple after Epic Games sued the Cupertino-based giant for kicking Fortnite out of the App Store. The game violated the store's payment policies after Epic released a new direct payments system that bypasses the App Store's 30% tax.

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