Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is just like many of the top tech companies in the U.S. in that it has paid lobbyists who work in Washington on behalf of the company, making sure that members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission continue to provide policies and laws that encourage the tech companies to continue to grow. Over the last couple of years, Facebook and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) have been facing some added scrutiny for their data compilation and privacy efforts both in the U.S. and in Europe, and that has encouraged both companies to increase the money they have spent on lobbyists.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) reported that it spent nearly $4 million on lobbying in 2012, which is up from about $2 million a year earlier. It is apparently known that Facebook has been working on Capitol Hill working on various Do Not Track laws that had been considered – laws that were intended to provide some online privacy for personal information, which is the engine that drives much of Facebook’s advertising revenue. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is another company that increased is expense on lobbying in 2012, reportedly spending about $16.5 million, an increase of about 70 percent over the previous year. Google also relies on advertising and collecting personal data from users.
Upon seeing the disclosures of lobbying expenditures among the top tech companies, Consumer Watchdog expressed a very cynical view. “Google and Facebook would have you believe that they are different from other corporations,” said John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog. “They are not. They are following the corrupt corporate tradition in Washington: buying what you want.”
Early in Thursday’s trading, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) was moving up nearly 2 percent to $31.40 per share, while Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) was moving up almost 1 percent to $747.15 a share. How much has some of the other tech companies spent on lobbying in the last year?
While Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) posted the biggest increases in lobbying spend among tech companies, many companies also increased their lobbying efforts – while some cut back. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), for example, stepped up its spending by more than 10 percent, to $8.1 million. The biggest cutback featured came from AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), which shaved nearly 14 percent from its lobbying efforts, to about $17.5 million, while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) cut back 13 percent to just shy of $2 million.
Does it surprise you that Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) had the biggest increases in their lobbying expense? We’d like your thoughts and comments below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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