Facebook Won’t Add News Subscription Service to iOS App Due to Apple’s 30% Cut

Facebook is planning to introduce a feature that will let publishers sell subscriptions to their news sites directly on Facebook, but subscription purchases won’t be available on iOS devices because Apple and Facebook are having trouble working out terms, reports Recode.

The feature will add paywalls to some articles in the Facebook news feed, directing users to the publisher’s site to purchase a subscription. Apple wants to take a standard 30 percent cut of any subscription revenue brought in through the Facebook iOS app, while Facebook wants all of the money to go directly to publishers.


Facebook and Apple have reportedly been “discussing the impasse” for several months, and Facebook has decided to go ahead with a version of the feature that will only be available on Android phones. Facebook will be working with publishers like Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst (The Houston Chronicle and The San Francisco Chronicle), La Repubblica, Le Parisien, Spiegel, The Telegraph, tronc (The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Diego Union-Tribune), and The Washington Post.

Through its subscription rules, Apple can take up to 30 percent of subscription revenue from in-app sales, though that number drops after a person has subscribed to a service on an iOS device for more than a year.

News subscription services won’t be purchased directly on Facebook, but Apple still considers the feature to be an “in-app” purchase. Google does not plan to take a cut of revenue.

In a statement to Recode, Facebook said it is “committed to this effort” and “optimistic” that a test will expand to “all mobile platforms” in the near future.

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