Apple has agreed to waive fees assessed on online events from Facebook businesses. Apple’s app store usually asses a 30% charge for posting the events, but the company has agreed to forgo its cut until at least the end of the year. This is in lite of the fact that so many small businesses are struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tech Crunch reported.
“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,” said Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne. “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.”
Apple said in a statement, “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. To ensure every developer can create and grow a successful business, Apple maintains a clear, consistent set of guidelines that apply equally to everyone.”
However, this news does not seem to impact the criticism leveled at Facebook for its failure to shut down on fake news. While just yesterday we reported that the company has announced that its new oversight board would be ready in time for the November elections, there now comes word that this is not the case. And whenever this new Facebook “Supreme Court starts,” many say that it will not make any difference because it will still serve Facebook’s corporate interests.
A new group has been created to serve as a sort of watchdog of Facebook activities called “Real Facebook Oversight Board.” This other board’s members pledge to update the public about anything which they perceive as bad faith on the part of the new Facebook board or anything that it way fail to report. The board has been funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s foundation The Omidyar Group.
“Unfortunately after multiple attempts to get Facebook to actually protect our democracy and to protect people, I am glad to see the formation of this oversight board, something that’s independent and that has a number of experts to begin to inform the community around the potential harm of the platform,” Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, told USA TODAY. “Facebook and its leadership have been good at saying the right things but haven’t always done the right things.”
Carole Cadwalladr, a member of the rival board, said, “This is an emergency response. We know there are going to be a series of incidents leading up to the election and beyond in which Facebook is crucial. This is a real-time response from an authoritative group of experts to counter the spin Facebook is putting out.”
Roger McNamee, another Real Facebook Oversight Board member who was also an early Facebook investor said that the company, “responds to criticism with bad faith statements and cosmetic changes.”
“The Real Oversight Board will act as a watchdog, helping policymakers and consumers defend against a renegade platform.”
“The Board’s decisions are only binding in a very narrow sense — that is, the individual piece of content (as in, the single post) in question,” Evelyn Douek, a lecturer in online speech at Harvard Law School, told Business Insider in an email. “Whether Facebook applies the rationale decision more broadly depends on whether Facebook deems it ‘technically and operationally feasible.'”
“We are currently testing the newly deployed technical systems that will allow users to appeal and the Board to review cases,” the Oversight Board said. “Assuming those tests go to plan, we expect to open user appeals in mid to late October. Building a process that is thorough, principled and globally effective takes time and our members have been working aggressively to launch as soon as possible.”