- Alphabet Inc. and Apple were also among the biggest investors in lobbying in 2020, the analysis revealed.
- Spending is only part of the tech giants’ efforts to gain goodwill in Washington.
- Facebook said it will continue to express its support for the new rules that “address today’s realities online.”
- Visit the Business Insider home page for more stories.
Facebook and Amazon were the biggest supporters of lobbying in 2020, outpacing the expenses of companies like AT&T and Boeing, according to a Wall Street Journal Analysis.
The analysis examines reports submitted by US companies to Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, a federal law that requires companies to disclose such expenses.
Facebook, the social media giant, spent about $ 20 million in 2020, an 18% increase from the previous year, while Amazon spent about $ 18 million, up 11% from 2019, according to analysis.
Lobbying spending comes as Democrats take control of both Houses of Congress. Some Democratic lawmakers have called for more regulation of the internet, social media platforms and e-commerce.
Facebook told the Journal it was susceptible to new legislation. “We have been clear that the internet needs updated regulations, which is why we will continue to express our support for the new rules that address today’s online realities,” a spokesperson said.
Amazon’s team in Washington, DC is focused on ensuring that the company defends issues that matter to policy makers, employees and customers, a company spokesperson told the Journal.
Other companies like Apple Inc. have revealed that they spent $ 6.7 million on lobbying in 2020, down more than 10% from the previous year. Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, said it spent $ 7.5 million on lobbying.
Additionally, Microsoft Corp. spent $ 9.4 million on lobbying in 2020, Oracle Corp. spent about $ 8.1 million, TikTok owner ByteDance Inc. spent $ 2.6 million, and Twitter Inc. spent $ 1.5 million, according to the analysis.
The Wall Street Journal analysis says these expenses are only part of the efforts being made by Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet to build goodwill in Washington.
Read More: Breaking Facebook is “on the table,” says Letitia James, the New York Attorney General Leading the Antitrust Case Against It
Google and Facebook are facing more antitrust lawsuits. In December, Facebook and Google agree to help each other if they were subjected to antitrust action, according to a draft lawsuit seen by the Wall Street Journal. The draft is a version of the antitrust lawsuit filed against Google by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is leading a number of states in an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook, said a dissolution of the company is possible as the company’s “monopoly harms consumers and advertisers “.
House Democrats also said in a report released in October that Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon need to be heavily regulated and potentially dismembered. The October report states that all four companies use functions that monopolize the market.
The report added that these “monopolistic” functions should be regulated or potentially separated from companies. This includes Facebook’s collection of popular social media apps, Google’s search engine dominance, Amazon’s control of its marketplace, and Apple’s authority over its iOS App Store.
While the Joe Biden administration hasn’t outlined an explicit technology agenda that oversees the industry, Democrats in Congress are planning their own legislation on issues related to liability, antitrust, privacy, disinformation and user-generated content, according to The Wall Street. Magazine.
Those plans became more urgent following the January 6 Capitol Hill uprising that led Facebook and Amazon, among others, to suspend political donations.
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