A social media consultant @Matt Navarra shared on Twitter that Telegram was testing a new pay-to-view posts feature on iOS. More interestingly, the feature used Telegram’s own payment system which violates App Store’s rules.
Apple charges 15% – 30% commission for all in-app purchases via App Store from all developers. However, only reader apps are allowed to link to their external websites to set and manage accounts.
Telegram’s ‘paid posts’ feature on iOS by-passed the App Store payment system
Telegram is messaging app that offers rich communication features like stickers, polls, themes, emojis, and more. And for a $4.99 subscription fee, Telegram Premium users have access to additional features like group chats with more participants, premium stickers, voice-to-text conversion, unique reactions, profile badges, and more.
As discovered by Navarra, Premium subscribers were also able to pay-to-view posts with their fans using its own payment system to avoid paying App Store in-app purchases’ commission.
However, the messaging company paused the feature’s testing after it was made public and apparently, Apple got wind of it. In a statement to 9to5Mac, its CEO Pavel Durov said that the company was not testing the feature and some subscribers used bots to push pay-to-view posts.
After the article was published, a Telegram spokesperson told 9to5Mac that the company is not testing a paid posts feature. Instead, some creators are using third-party donation and pay-to-view bots.
On Friday, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov shared a public message in which he says that the platform has never charged users for transactions made using these bots. However, as the news spread, Apple reportedly requested Telegram to remove this feature from the iOS app.
Recently, Spotify also faced similar issues with an update for audiobooks which included links to external websites for payments.
Although App Store’s rules on in-app purchase commission are known to all iOS developers, a few try to bypass the payment system to generate more revenue.