Facebook Ramped Up Lobbying By 314 Percent In 4Q

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook is increasingly becoming a player in Washington, D.C., and not just because of social media’s influence on politics. MarketWatch reported Wednesday that Facebook spent $1.4 million on lobbying in the fiscal fourth quarter — a 314 percent increase from what it sent to politicians during the same time period in 2011.

According to documents filed Tuesday, Facebook spent its money on lobbyists for a variety of causes: international regulation of software companies, restriction of Internet access by foreign countries, and protecting online freedom of expression.

Other areas of interest for Facebook included the reform of the immigration system (namely temporary high-tech worker visas and employment-based permanent residency), cyber security, and education regarding online advertising.

Facebook has been a major factor in recent Internet security decisions, including alterations to the Video Privacy Protection Act (allowing Facebook and Netflix to share data) and the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (which now allows ads to be targeted to children under the age of 13).

John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director, commented on the amount that Facebook and Google ($16.48 million) spent on lobbying in the fourth quarter:

Google and Facebook would have you believe that they are different from other corporations. They are not. They are following the corrupt corporate tradition in Washington: buying what you want.

Readers: How do you feel about Facebook’s lobbying efforts?