In the second quarter of 2011 Google spent roughly $2 million on lobbying the federal (American) government; Facebook spent $320,000 during the same period. This year both Google and Facebook has drastically increased their lobbying efforts: Google has reported to have spent $3.9 million in Q2 2012 — a 90% increase over the same period last year — while Facebook has reported to have spent $960,000, a 200% increase from Q2 2011.
Why the increase? Well it could have to do with the impending change of office happening in Washington. Or it could be for other reasons. What is more important than why the increase is what the money is being spent on.
According to the records released by Google, most of its lobbying efforts were spent on the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Commerce. Primarily, Google focused on issues such as “broadband adoption and deployment”, “openness and competition in online services”, and “mobile location privacy issues”. Google also spent some dollars on the Department of Transportation pursing “autonomous vehicle technology”; you know, the cars that drive themselves which Google has been working on.
In contrast, Facebook lobbied the feds for issues such as online privacy, cybersecurity, patent reform, immigration reform, and market structure and IPO issues. I’m not sure why Facebook cares about immigration reform but the other topics are of obvious importance to Facebook.
As The Verge reports, Facebook’s lobby dollars are greater than Amazon’s $690,000 and Apple’s $470,000 while Google is inline with the likes of Verizon ($3.94 million), AT&T ($3.5 million), and Microsoft ($2 million).