Paid Telegram posts didn’t last long in iOS. Because of Apple’s strict App Store rules, the company had to remove them. Telegram CEO Pavel Durov says that creators on the platform used third-party bots to pay or donate to sell access to specific posts on their channels, but 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 its apps and charges up to a 30 percent fee on any in-app purchases. 9to5Mac states that Telegram initially appeared to be testing a paid messaging feature, as social media consultant Matt Navarra noted. However, Telegram said the platform wasn’t testing the feature, and users instead used third-party payment bots to add a paywall to messages.
“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].”
Durov had a conflict with Apple before. In August, Telegram’s CEO accused the Cupertinians of delaying one of their updates by several weeks because the company disagreed with the new Telegram Telemoji, which embellishes standard emoji with fun animations.
Telegram also recently debuted a $4.99/month Premium subscription, which gives users access to exclusive features but offers a $1 discount if you buy it through its desktop website because, as Telegram explains, “the payments are not subject to fees from Apple or Google.”