It’s no secret that the amount of time that tech companies are spending in Washington, D.C., is at a high. And money spent on lobbying has also been reaching peaks for a number of well-known technology giants, including Facebook. In the first quarter of 2013, Facebook spent $2.45 million on lobbying efforts, a 277 percent increase from $650,000 a year earlier. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Facebook spent $1.4 million on lobbying, so this is a big jump both on a quarterly and yearly basis.
So what did Facebook spend on this quarter? International regulation of the Internet and freedom of expression; privacy and security policies and the education of these policies; education of online advertising; immigration reform; cyber security and data security; and discussions on tax issues and stock options.
It’s also worth noting that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and a number of other tech all-stars recently co-founded a political advocacy and lobbying group designed to promote policies that will keep the American workforce competitive. The first item on the agenda for the group is pushing comprehensive immigration reform, but it will also be focusing its efforts on education reform and scientific research.
After hitting highs in lobbying spending in 2012, Google cut its first-quarter lobbying spending by 33 percent to $3.35 million year-over-year (Google spent $5.03 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2012). The search giant’s spending was flat from quarter to quarter, with Google spending the exact same amount on lobbying in Q4 of 2012. Google scored a huge victory in February when the Federal Trade Commission closed its antitrust investigation, and many say that Google escaped lightly because of its increased presence and lobbying in D.C.
This quarter, Google spent money lobbying on issues of regulation of online advertising, patent reform and intellectual property enforcement; privacy and data security issues; renewable energy policy; online freedom of expression; health information technology and privacy; cyber security; immigration and job creation; openness and competition in online services, math, science and technology education; international tax reform; the benefits of cloud computing for small businesses; broadband adoption and open Internet access; and freedom of expression and intellectual property in international trade agreements.
And it looks like Facebook’s not the only company taking a page out of the Google lobbying playbook. According to Consumer Watchdog.org, a number of other tech giants also increased spending on lobbying efforts. Microsoft spent $2.53 million in the quarter, which is a 41 percent increase from $1.79 million in 2012. Amazon spent $859,831, a 32 percent increase from $650,000 in 2012. Apple spent $720,000, a 44 percent increase from $500,000 in 2012. Oracle spent $1.37 million, a 25 percent increase from 1.1 million in 2012.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Cliff1066.