Big tech is reportedly continuing to flex its lobbying power despite facing Congressional scrutiny. The past few years have seen a growing number of Congress members join a bipartisan group which aims to one day rein in the tech giants, while proposing legislation which could strengthen antitrust laws and increase the regulations imposed over the internet. This comes amid growing concerns over the way these biggies value their own interests over their users.
Not Hindered by Growing Scrutiny
Despite this, tech firms continue to flex their political power through lobbying efforts, splurging out millions of dollars for the same, as suggested by the lobbying disclosures in the third quarter. It has been found that companies have been spending increasing amounts towards having lobbyists promote their agenda before Congress members.
Take social media biggie Facebook for example. The company has been facing growing scrutiny from lawmakers and the public following the leak of a trove of internal documents by whistleblower Frances Haugen, which have hinted at a number of things, from Facebook’s platform being responsible for the Capitol riots this year, to Instagram aggravating body image issues among users.
But that hasn’t stopped execs from continuing to have lobbyists make efforts on its behalf. The result? One of the most expensive lobbying operations in Washington, D.C. The company apparently spent around $5.1 million on lobbyists in the third quarter of this year itself, making it the second highest expenditure ever. The highest still belongs to the first quarter of 2020, when it had spent as much as $5.2 million towards the same.
Increased Spending, but Difficulty Hiring Lobbyists
In fact, it’s spending during the third quarter was the highest among all tech firms tracked by OpenSecrets, with Amazon coming in second at $5 million. Interestingly, it is the lowest the online retail giant has invested in lobbying efforts this year, after having spent nearly $5.2 million in the second quarter and $5.1 million in the first.
At the same time though, increased spending doesn’t necessarily mean increased success in lobbying, which is exemplified by the fact that Facebook has faced a difficult time hiring lobbyists who are connected to Democrats who are currently in power at the White House. In fact, a report by the Wall Street Journal has found that in a current lobbying operation that included outside firms, there were only 22 Democrats as opposed to 39 Republicans who were siding with the efforts.