Facebook, following Fortnite, says Apple’s fees hurt small businesses

Facebook has objected to the 30% fee Apple charges for purchases that take place within apps running on iPhones, a major source of revenue for Apple and an increasingly contentious issue for developers

The fee hurts businesses trying to take advantage of a new feature in Facebook’s app to sell services like video streams or online classes, the social-networking giant said, according to a Bloomberg report Friday.

“We went through our usual channels to suggest strongly to them to waive their fee or to let us use Facebook Pay — one of the two — and they declined,” Facebook app leader Fidji Simo told Bloomberg, adding that Google did permit the use of Facebook Pay. “Helping small businesses recover from COVID-19 is a critical thing that all tech companies should help with.”

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The move comes a day after Apple and Google ejected Epic Games’ popular Fortnite game from their app stores for trying to bypass in-app payment rules. 

Fortnite launched lawsuits fighting its case, setting up a battle over how much control Apple and Google should have over software that runs on the computing platforms they control. App store fees are a central point in Congress’ new antitrust scrutiny of tech giants.

Facebook, Apple and Google didn’t immediately respond to CNET’s requests for comment.