Lobbying is an act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in the government.Most tech companies and industry trade associations saw a marked increase in their lobbying budgets in the fourth quarter of 2011 over the same period last year. One reason for this would be more confidence in the economy from the business community. Employment figures has a tremendous upward tick and Congress is generally more active in the year before a presidential election. It will be interesting to see if Facebook’s higher federal lobbying budget holds steady or continues to grow in 2012.While the federal Government-Congress, the white house and various agencies will continue to consider core issue such as privacy, the real action will be in the presidential and congressional races, as well as local and state races.
Last year Facebook’s lobbying budget passed the $1 million milestone,according to last quarter’s report filed with US government on Friday. Marking Facebook first, the company’s lobbying budget broke through the million dollar ceiling last year on the fourth quarter reports filed recently. The company’s budget last year was $1.35 million. The increasing lobbying expenses offers clear signs that Facebook is not only focused on growing its profits and membership, but also its pressure on the hill.Facebook has also expanded its team of lobbyist
“This increase represents a continuation of our efforts to explain how our service works as well as the important actions we take to protect people who use our service and promote the value of innovation to our economy,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
It is revealed that Facebook spent $440,000 on lobbying in the last quarter on 2011,up to 30 % from the same period a year ago and a whopping 85% increase over the $38,117 spent in 2009.Facebook’s Fourth-quarter lobbying budget was the most of what company spent in any reporting period last year. The company’s lobbying is still dwarfed by the amount spent by other major internet and technology companies. The total lobbying expenditure in 2011 was $910,000. In comparison, Google spent $3.76 million in the last quarter of 2011.
Facebook elected not to go dark to protest the Stop Online Piracy act, unlike Google, which blocked out its logo, and Wikipedia, which actually went grey. Facebook has laid the groundwork in 2011 for their recent victory against the Stop online Piracy Act. Earlier this month, Facebook joined AOL, eBay, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga in backing an alternative to SOPA, the online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade, or Open act, which the companies said in a letter to congress:
However, search giant Google leads the way of lobby in D.C with spending of $9.3 billion in 2011, bating software titan Microsoft. This has made Google’s position much stronger than any other company in US senate and we can just expect to see surge in this spending figures in 2012.
The social network reached a much publicized deal with the Federal Trade Commission on fourth quarter. The list of issues that Facebook lobbied were privacy, online security and safety.Facebook is still a relatively new platform on Capitol Hill, and the social network plans to educate lawmakers about how best to use the technology.It’s no wonder Facebook is working so hard to friend Washington D C.While Facebook is clearly spending more and more on lobbying, it’s not the only firm doing so. In fact, the increased outreach to policymakers is a trend: most companies saw a marked increase in their lobbying budgets from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011, and technology giants were no exception.