The App Store Guidelines were updated after the launch of the new operating system to make clear that apps that offer "boosts" for posts and other ad content must use in-app purchases. Meta said in a statement that Apple is creating policies to bolster its own business while undercutting others.

Facebook Feature

"Apple continues to evolve its policies to grow their own business while undercutting others in the digital economy. Apple previously said it didn't take a share of developer advertising revenue, and now apparently changed its mind. We remain committed to offering small businesses simple ways to run ads and grow their businesses on our apps."

Facebook allows companies and individuals to pay to "boost" a post that is doing well in order to get it in front of more potential viewers and customers. Prior to the guideline update, Apple said that digital content should be sold through in-app purchases, but Facebook has not followed that rule.

In-app purchase is not required to boost a post in the Facebook app for the iPad. Apple isn't getting a cut of the money that businesses and advertisers pay to Facebook because a boosted post is paid for using a credit card, debit card, or bank account. In-app purchases are used for similar post boosting features on other social media networks.

Meta has been able to get away with using the same direct purchase option for boost for years because Apple has allowed it. The private dispute between Apple and Meta was detailed by The Wall Street Journal.

The new wording calls out boosted posts specifically, though the text is listed at the bottom of a rule about ad management apps that don't show ads themselves.

"Advertising Management Apps: Apps for the sole purpose of allowing advertisers (persons or companies that advertise a product, service, or event) to purchase and manage advertising campaigns across media types (television, outdoor, websites, apps, etc.) do not need to use in-app purchase. These apps are intended for campaign management purposes and do not display the advertisements themselves. Digital purchases for content that is experienced or consumed in an app, including buying advertisements to display in the same app (such as sales of "boosts" for posts in a social media app) must use in-app purchase."

There was no explanation as to why Apple has changed the wording of the guideline, nor why Facebook has not been made to comply, according to an Apple spokesman.

"For many years now, the App Store guidelines have been clear that the sale of digital goods and services within an app must use In-App Purchase. Boosting, which allows an individual or organization to pay to increase the reach of a post or profile, is a digital service -- so of course In-App Purchase is required. This has always been the case and there are many examples of apps that do it successfully."

If Apple starts taking a cut of boosted posts, Facebook will likely pass the added cost along to the individuals and businesses that use the feature.