Thinking of you, creators 💖

The Timeline
The Apple Tax fallout might just turn the creator economy on its head.

Hello hello hello
What’s up, fam?
I wanted to start off this newsletter with something like “I’ve been reflecting …” but I haven’t been doing that.
To be more accurate, I’ve been looking over all of the years I’ve spent online and how much I’ve shared in nearly two decades of being on the grid. It’s a lot. (Also, side note: I found out this week my Tumblr was still public so I just took it down after 13 years!)
I’ve never had a massive following on any platform. I do like to think I’ve built a pretty engaged community over the years, though.
I sometimes wonder about what might have happened if I were more intentional about my online spaces, and if I would have turned them into a source of income. I mean, I was a kid when social media blew up and I saw so many of my peers use it to their advantage.
And I was just there, narrowing down my MySpace top 8.
This was probably on my mind this week because of all the content I was looking through about the creator economy — more specifically, all of the commentary around the Apple Tax.
We’ll get into that in a second.
But I want to know if you’ve ever felt like you missed out on the social media train. What would you have done then if you knew the creator economy was coming? Let me know.
Fanhouse v. Apple
Fanhouse logo on a pink background
Fanhouse logo on a pink background
This week, Fanhouse co-founder Jasmine Rice brought what’s called the “Apple Tax” into focus. This came after Apple threatened to remove the app from the App Store in August if Fanhouse doesn’t give Apple 30% of what creators earn on Fanhouse.
Apple takes that 30% of profits from in-app purchases. These are considered “digital goods.”
The digital goods creators can sell on Fanhouse include exclusive or requested content and a private feed for paying subscribers. Essentially, Fanhouse is the SFW version of OnlyFans.
Much of the creators on Fanhouse have built followings on other platforms. Fanhouse lets them leverage those audiences and for many, the app has allowed them to make enough money to afford rent, medical bills and groceries. The app takes 10% of those earnings.
jasmine 🍚
What 30% Means

Fanhouse is a startup that pays 90% of transactions to creators. Apple is now threatening to remove us from the app store unless we give them 30% of all transactions, resulting in creators only receiving 60% of their earnings. Here's what 30% means to creators.
Apple said it’s working with Fanhouse to make the app compliant with the App Store’s in-app purchases policy, The Verge reported.
There’s a disconnect here between Apple and the creator economy. Apple is a middleman and provides the means to download an app. So, in a way, it does make more sense to take a cut from Fanhouse rather than creators themselves. Rice said she’d be willing to give Apple their cut that way.
Again, Fanhouse isn’t the only app that feels the Apple Tax impact. Apple already takes from creators on platforms like Facebook and Twitch who have subscribers using iOS.
Later this year, Twitter is going to be taking 20% from ticketed Twitter Spaces. From that, Apple will take 30% from any tickets purchased with an iPhone.
With so many hands in the pot, maybe this is the time creators will start thinking about owning their own platform.
I know that’s a pretty big reach, but it’s not necessarily a new or revolutionary model. I mean, many creators already do this in some capacity. Platforms are supplemental and not necessarily where they make their money. Why do you think so many influencers have merch?
I’ll be watching what comes out of the Fanhouse and Apple situation. Apple is also in the middle of a lawsuit with Epic Games over App Store fees. Both outcomes, whatever they’ll be, could turn the creator economy on its head so you should be watching too.
Scroll stoppers
A viral TikTok shows Starbucks baristas screaming into a camera and a list of ingredients they don't have in stock (@baileygodfrey5)
A viral TikTok shows Starbucks baristas screaming into a camera and a list of ingredients they don't have in stock (@baileygodfrey5)
Starbucks is low on ingredients. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer as to why that’s happening. It could be the “appucinos” — the drink orders that have gone viral on TikTok. Or maybe demand for Starbucks is high and with many places relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, people are meeting up at the coffee shop again. The company did say its sales are back to where they were before the pandemic.
The New York Times
This is why you might not be able to get your peach green tea lemonade or a Unicorn Cake Pop at Starbucks for a while.
Verda Tetteh, a high school senior who graduated last week in Massachusetts, won a $40,000 scholarship and gave it away to another graduate. Tetteh already has scholarships and awards that she’ll be putting toward her education at Harvard University.
Bloomberg Quicktake
🎓A senior headed to Harvard gave away her $40,000 scholarship to a fellow grad going to a community college.

"I am so very grateful for this, but I also know that I am not the one who needs this the most"
A tweet featuring a cross-legged office chair made its rounds around Twitter. Last I checked, there are less than a dozen left on Amazon. Can’t help thinking that if it went viral on TikTok, it might’ve been sold out by now.
Last but not least, Pulitzer Prize winners were announced Friday. Darnella Frazier, who was 17 years old when recorded the murder of George Floyd last year, received a special citation. It feels significant that an institution like the Pulitzer Prize Board honored citizen journalism.
The board wrote in its notes about Frazier’s honorary award:
“A special citation to honor Darnella Frazier for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quest for truth and justice.”
In case you missed it
👩🏻‍💻 Lots unveiled at Apple’s #WWDC 2021 keynote including new features that could compete with Zoom.
🏛 The U.S. House is coming for tech empires (Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon) in a new anti-trust bill.
💬 Facebook is working on expiring posts.
🟣 A K-Pop star broke the record for the number of people in one Twitter Space with over 43,000 listeners.
💥 Facebook content moderators in Ireland are fighting the platform’s outsourcing model, and they’re taking their cause to the country’s lawmakers.
Before I go
Thanks again for subscribing to this newsletter. I appreciate all of you.
I’m planning to roll out my first essay for members sometime soon. I sent a resource list earlier this week to help get in the mindset of all things internet culture.
I hope you have a good week! If you find something on your timeline that you think I might like, send me a DM on Twitter or email me.
Until next time,
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Shayne Nuesca
Shayne Nuesca @shaynenuesca

Monthly-ish recap of hit tweets and other musings by a very online journalist

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