Facebook exec Fidji Simo: Apple is ‘hurting’ the creator economy

June 23, 2021, 10:00 PM UTC

Fidji Simo, the head of Facebook’s app, doubled down on Facebook’s attacks on Apple on Wednesday. Facebook is aiming to make it easier for creators to build a business on its services—an approach she says vastly contrasts that of Apple.

“We fundamentally think that other platforms that take very large revenue share are hurting that economy,” she said at Fortune’s MPW Next Gen virtual conference referring to Apple, which takes a cut of in-app purchases made on applications that are downloaded via its app store.

Instead, Facebook says it will allow creators to use its tools like paid subscriptions and paid online events for free until 2023. And when Facebook does start charging for these tools, the cost “will be much lower than the 30% that Apple takes,” Fidji said echoing comments Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made earlier this month. Fortune reached out to Apple for comment following the live conversation.

“We think that’s the right thing to do for that creative economy to really rise,” she said.

The comments come as Facebook continues to butt heads with Apple. The iPhone giant recently rolled out new privacy controls on its operating system that allows users to opt out of allowing apps track to their activity across other apps and websites—an option that makes it harder for Facebook to target users with relevant ads.

Meanwhile, Apple has also been in a big public battle—most played out in the Apple-Epic trial last month—with app developers over the fees it charges for in-app purchases. And Facebook continues to throw jabs at Apple’s messaging and wearable products—two areas in which Facebook is trying to compete.

Beyond business, Simo also gave conference attendees a look at her personal health challenges and how she’s handled them in a professional environment. Simo has been public about everything from her miscarriage to her struggles with endometriosis to enduring a blood circulation disorder called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.

“Health is really taboo in the workplace, and I think it’s even more taboo for women because we already have so much to prove that we deserve to be in these positions of power,” she said. “So anything that creates any doubt, around our ability to perform is a risk for women.”

But despite the potential professional risk, Simo said she had a responsibility to talk about her health issues openly. Her hope was that it would allow other professional women the opportunity to realize that they could also rise to positions of power despite their health challenges. And Simo had her fair share—she launched Facebook Live while on bedrest.

Her health issues have given her broader perspective on women’s health and how important it is to advocate oneself despite doubt that may come from healthcare professionals. 

“Doctors just dismiss women’s pains and women’s symptoms, and I’ve seen that firsthand,” she said. “We need to address bias and medicine if we want women to really become healthy and be supported in their career in their lives.”

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