Telegram pulls paywalled posts from iOS app due to App Store rules

The Telegram logo on a black and red background
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Telegram removed the ability for users on iOS to create pay-to-view posts due to Apple’s strict App Store guidelines (via 9to5Mac). In a post on Telegram, CEO Pavel Durov says creators on the platform have been using third-party payment or donation bots to sell access to certain posts on their channels, but that Apple was “not happy with content creators monetizing their efforts without paying a 30% tax to Apple.”

Apple doesn’t allow developers to use third-party payment processors in their apps and charges up to a 30 percent commission on any in-app purchases. As noted by 9to5Mac, Telegram initially appeared to have been testing a paid posts feature, as spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra. However, Telegram said in a statement to 9to5Mac that the platform isn’t testing this feature and users have instead been taking advantage of third-party payment bots to add a paywall to posts.

“This is just another example of how a trillion-dollar monopoly abuses its market dominance at the expense of millions of users who are trying to monetize their own content,” Durov says. “I hope that the regulators in the EU, India and elsewhere start taking action before Apple destroys more dreams and crushes more entrepreneurs with a tax that is higher than any government-levied VAT [value-added tax].”

This isn’t the first time Durov and Apple have butted heads. In August, Durov blamed Apple for delaying one of its updates for weeks, as the company took issue with Telegram’s new Telemoji that dresses up standard emoji with fun animations. Telegram also recently debuted its $4.99 / month Premium subscription that gives users access to exclusive features, but offers a $1 discount if you purchase it through its desktop site because, as Telegram explains, “the payments are not subject to fees from Apple or Google.”

Several companies have taken shots at Apple this past week. On Wednesday, Spotify criticized the iPhone maker for making it harder for the platform to sell audiobooks on its app, an update Apple later rejected altogether, forcing Spotify to remove audiobook purchases from its iOS app completely. Meta also accused Apple of “undercutting others in the digital economy,” as it now requires the company to give Apple a 30 percent cut whenever a user pays to “boost” the visibility of their posts on Facebook or Instagram.

Source: The Verge

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