Google And Facebook Ramp Up Lobbying Spend In Q1 2011

It’s no secret that Facebook is deepening its ties with the Beltway crowd. As we saw yesterday, the company hosted a town hall meeting with President Obama and has steadily ramping up its lobbying efforts in 2010, spending over $350,000 on lobbying efforts last year. But the company recently disclosed its Q1 spend on lobbying and the company shelled out a record $230,000 on lobbying activities in the quarter, which is up by over 400 percent from $41,390 spent in Q1 2010. This data is recorded in the U.S. Senate’s lobbying database.

Policy areas of focus for Facebook this year include global regulation of software companies and restrictions on internet access by foreign governments; online safety measures, internet privacy regulations, cyber security, and FCC regulations on net neutrality. A new issue that the company spent lobbying resources on is discussing House, Senate, and Government rules to allow more Government and Congressional offices to access social media to engage with citizens.

Other new additions to Facebook’s lobbying efforts include patent reform and lobbying for Oregon power and water needs to support high-tech growth and investment in Oregon. Facebook just opened a new, energy-efficient data center in Oregon.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, the social network spent $130,000 in the quarter (up from $38,117 in the fourth quarter of 2009). In total, Facebook spent $351,390 on lobbying in 2010. Not only is this quarter the most Facebook has ever spent on lobbying, but the social network is well on its way to surpassing its 2010 total spend in the first two quarters of 2011.

It’s not surprising that the company is building out its presence in D.C. That’s something that both Google, Microsoft and others have been doing for some time now.

In fact, Google also spent record dollars on lobbying efforts this past quarter, shelling out $1.48 million. That’s compared to the search giant’s Q1 spend in 2010, which came in at $1.38 million. Google spent a total of $5.2 million in lobbying last year.

This past quarter, Google’s lobbying strategy for this quarter focused on online advertising regulation, intellectual property and trademark issues, cyber security and online privacy, renewable energy, freedom of expression and censorship, H-1B Visa reform, “openness and competition in the online services market,” cloud computing, tax reform, free trade, Congressional Internet service usage rules and broadband access.

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