Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) reportedly spent significant amounts in 2019 on lobbying the federal government. This is according to the company’s necessary filings to the government yesterday.
Spending by tech companies continues to grow
The latest revelations show how the tech giants have been trying to exert influence on Washington in the wake of growing antitrust and privacy scrutiny in the tech industry. The lobbying seems to be working because, despite the numerous scandals of abuse of personal information, Congress is yet to adopt laws to regulate the industry. Experts attribute this to Silicon Valley’s growing lobbying prowess.
House Representative David N. Cicilline, who is leading the antitrust probe on tech companies, said that the companies have a lot of political and economic powers. As a result, they have been spending millions of dollars in an attempt to maintain the status quo.
For instance, according to the latest filing, Facebook spent around $16.71 million in lobbying a 32% increased from 2018. The disclosure shows that amazon increased its spending from $14.4 million in 2018 to around $16.1 million in 2019. Smartphone maker Apple increased its spending by 10% from 2018 to $7.35 million last year.
Tech companies face increasing regulatory scrutiny from legislators
The companies have been increasing their spending on lobbying in the past few years as regulatory scrutiny continues to grow. Tech companies have spent in the last decade, almost half a billion in lobbying with Facebook, Amazon, and Google accounting for most spend. Tech companies previously loathed engaging Washington but have now turned to be the top spenders at the capital.
Following several data mishaps at Google and Facebook and the interference in the 2016 elections, legislators have been determined to tighten regulation. Republicans and Democrats have introduced several bills that will limit how the companies collect data and proposed harsh penalties for privacy abuses. Already they have adopted a new law regarding online political advertising, which will hold companies liable for misinformation.