Telegram introduced a paid “Premium” subscription this year that unlocks additional features for users, but it appears the platform wants to make even more money off the messaging app. This time, Telegram has been quietly testing paid channel posts. Furthermore, the app uses its payment system on iOS to circumvent Apple’s in-app purchases.
Telegram’s paid posts circumvent the App Store’s payment system
According to social media consultant Matt Navarra, a few Telegram channels have already gotten access to this feature, which allows creators to charge people money to view specific messages. The platform has not officially announced the feature, implying that it is still in testing.
The intriguing aspect of this story is that paid posts are also available in Telegram’s iOS app. Even so, the app employs its payment system rather than the App Store’s in-app purchase system.
It’s unclear whether Apple is aware of Telegram’s plans, but it seems unlikely given that selling in-app content via alternative payment systems is against App Store policies.
Developers who include paid content in their apps must use Apple’s in-app purchases. The only exceptions are apps in the “reading” category, which can redirect users to an external website to pay for a subscription. In South Korea, Apple was also forced to allow developers to use alternative payment methods, but Telegram is not one of them.
Of course, Telegram is most likely attempting to circumvent the App Store’s in-app purchases system to avoid paying Apple’s 30% commission on each sale. For example, a monthly subscription to Telegram Premium costs $4.99 when purchased through the iOS app. However, if you pay through the Telegram website, the same subscription costs $3.99.
Telegram and Apple have been at odds for a long time
Due to the strict rules of the App Store, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov openly criticizes Apple. Apple has repeatedly rejected updates to Telegram’s iOS app for violating some of the company’s guidelines, such as replicating the iOS emoji design.
There is no word on when this feature will be available to the general public. However, if Telegram continues to roll out paid posts without using the App Store’s in-app purchases system, the company will soon face another legal battle with Apple.