Facebook, Amazon Spend Record Amount For Lobbying
Facebook and Amazon spent record amounts for lobbying in the second quarter of this year, according to Bloomberg. The increase in spending is driven by the government’s tighter scrutiny of tech giants.
Facebook Spent Millions For Lobbying Around Blockchain
The company led by Mark Zuckerberg spent over $4.1 million on lobbying in the second quarter, the highest figure among online platforms.
Facebook has lobbied around the distributed ledger technology (DLT), which underpins cryptocurrencies. Specifically, the company has promoted the blockchain technology to find support for its own digital currency called Libra. We reported earlier this month how the project had sparked prompt reactions from regulators and politicians worldwide. Obviously, Facebook was expecting that and tried to win the trust of regulators and officials.
Nevertheless, the lobby from Facebook doesn’t seem to show its fruits. President Donald Trump tweeted that he was concerned about Libra, citing the misuse by money launderers and other criminals. Similar opinions have also been shared by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, among others. Facebook had two hearings before both houses of Congress.
Besides the Libra project, the social media giant is settling charges from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The agency required Facebook to pay $5 billion in fines for violating users’ privacy, which is a record figure. The FTC said in a statement on Wednesday:
The Order imposes a privacy regime that includes a new corporate governance structure, with corporate and individual accountability and more rigorous compliance monitoring. This approach dramatically increases the likelihood that Facebook will be compliant with the Order; if there are any deviations, they likely will be detected and remedied quickly.
Amazon Spends $4+ Million on Lobbying
Amazon also spent over $4 million on lobbying in the second quarter, which is a quarterly record for the company. The tech giant is managing a massive lobbying operation that touches upon several issues. For instance, Amazon is competing with Microsoft for a $10 billion cloud services contract for the Pentagon.
President Donald Trump expressed his concerns that Amazon was regarded as the winner. Microsoft and Oracle are not happy with the process, calling it unfair. The latter was eliminated as a competitor in April of this year, together with IBM.
Oracle itself spent about $1.7 million during the second quarter. The tech firm said that it had lobbied on various issues, such as cloud and government IT procurement. Elsewhere, Microsoft spent $2.7 million over the quarter.
At the other end, Alphabet’s Google is decreasing its reliance on lobbyists. The search engine recently ended its contracts with about 17 lobbying firms, as global policy chief Karan Bhatia is restructuring the company’s strategy. Thus, Google spent only $3.1 million for lobbying in the second quarter, down about 50% from the same period in 2018.
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