Facebook Tops Lobbying Spending in 2020

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jens Meyer/AP/Shutterstock (10557363ae)Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on the second day of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, GermanySecurity Conference, Munich, Germany - 15 Feb 2020.
Jens Meyer/AP/Shutterstock / Jens Meyer/AP/Shutterstock

Last night, the major tech companies disclosed their lobbying spending for the fourth quarter of 2020, with Facebook taking the lead for the full year with $19.68 million in spending, according to CNBC.

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Facebook, which spent $4.7 million in lobbying spending in the fourth quarter, according to federal documents filed last night, increased its lobbying spending by 17.8% compared to 2019. In the fourth quarter, Facebook’s lobbying issues included copyright reform, election integrity, content policy and immigration and tax policies, according to the federal filings as reported by CNBC.

The other so-called FAANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet — formerly known as Google) also spent a lot on lobbying efforts.

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Amazon reported spending $17.86 million in 2020 compared to $16.1 million a year before, according to CNBC. Issues the company lobbied for last year were related to intellectual property, including copyright reform and online infringement; tax, including renewable energy tax credits and implementation of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act; and issues related to combating price gouging and false claims related to COVID-19, including implementation of the CARES Act, according to the company’s filings.

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On the other hand, Google spent 36.2% less on lobbying in 2020 compared with 2019, with spending totaling $7.53 million, according to CNBC. For the fourth quarter of 2020, the company spent $2.21 million on issues ranging from intellectual property enforcement to remote learning issues and pandemic mapping and contact tracing, according to documents filed last night.

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Apple spent $6.7 on lobbying efforts, below the $7.4 million it spent in 2019, according to MarketWatch. Issues the company lobbied for included education technology funding, green technology, issues related to consumer health data and issues related to diversity in the workplace.

At the bottom of the lobbying spending list for big tech companies, Netflix disclosed spending just $750,000 in 2020, down from its 2015 peak of $1.3 million, according to MarketWatch. In the fourth quarter, the company spent $70,000 in lobbying. The company’s lobbying efforts centered around intellectual property, internet nondiscrimination and economic stimulus, according to its federal filings.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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