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Apple halts fee on Facebook paid online events

The events are designed to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple will no longer collect a 30% fee on Facebook's paid online events.
James Martin/CNET

For the remainder of 2020, Apple will stop collecting a 30% App Store tax for Facebook's paid online events feature, which is geared toward helping small businesses make money during the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, Facebook said businesses can now keep all their earnings from paid online events, minus applicable taxes, until Dec. 31. 

Facebook Pay will be used to process all paid online events purchases, which means businesses and creators won't have to pay that 30% App Store tax through the rest of the year. 

"This is a difficult time for small businesses and creators, which is why we are not collecting any fees from paid online events while communities remain closed for the pandemic," Joe Osborne, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement. "Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30% App Store tax." 

The new measures extend to all businesses except gaming creators, Facebook said in a blog post. Apple says apps that also offer physical services beyond the app itself have always been required to provide other payment options than in-app purchases, such as Apple Pay or a credit card. But given the pandemic has hindered developers' ability to work with partners to safely provide in-person experiences, the iPhone maker says it's giving them more time to bring their virtual experiences into compliance. Gaming creators aren't included because they aren't physical businesses that were impacted by the pandemic, Apple says.

"The App Store provides a great business opportunity for all developers, who use it to reach half a billion visitors each week across 175 countries," Apple said in a statement. "To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone."

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