Facebook skirts App Store fees yet again with new ‘Stars Store’

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In another attempt to circumvent the App Store commission for in-app purchases, Facebook on Tuesday launched a new website to let users buy virtual items called “Stars” to support creators during livestreams.

As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook Stars are usually purchased through in-app purchases on iOS and Android, but now the company will redirect users to buy Stars through its new webpage. This way, Facebook won’t have to pay the 30% fee to Apple and Google.

Facebook in a blog post says users will now be able to “get more Stars for their money at lower prices.”

Today we’re launching Stars store, a website where people can use Facebook Pay to buy Stars to give to creators. Stars purchased in the Stars store on mobile or desktop are deposited into people’s virtual wallets for them to send to eligible creators during Facebook Live or on demand videos. In the Stars store, fans get more Stars for their money at lower prices so they can support even more of their favorite creators.

To encourage users to buy Stars through the website instead of the Facebook app, the company is now offering a special bonus. For instance, when buying 530 Stars for $9.99, users can get a 420 Stars bonus.

This is not the first time Facebook has criticized and tried to avoid App Store and Google Play commissions. Last month, the company introduced custom links for creators to receive payments over the web using Facebook Pay instead of its mobile app. In 2020, Facebook accused Apple of hurting small businesses with its 30% App Store fee.

Apple has been facing legal challenges regarding the App Store commissions, but so far, the company has not been forced to allow developers to use other in-app payment systems as the company appealed the judge’s ruling.

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