Does Facebook Need To Spend More On Lobbying?

The lobbying disclosure database revealed Facebook spent a total of $351,390 last year on lobbyists. Meanwhile, Apple spent $1.6 million, Yahoo spent $2.21 million and Google spent whopping $5.2 million in 2010.

The social network has only had a presence in Washington D.C. for a couple of years, so we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Facebook spent only $351,390 on lobbyists in 2010, a mere sliver of what competitors like Yahoo and Google spent.

According to the U.S. Senate’s lobbying disclosure database, Apple spent $1.6 million, Yahoo spent $2.21 million and Google spent $5.16 million on lobbying in 2010.

While these competitors have established lobbying operations, Facebook is still getting started. In the last couple of years the social network has hired high-profile policy experts to address issues like copyright, security of children online and online privacy. The work has occurred mostly in Washington D.C., although California is an emerging focus.

As issues like online behavior tracking are getting more attention in Congress, Facebook might find the need to beef up its lobbying budget, especially to compete with the likes of Google. The search engine company increased lobbyist spending by 28 percent annually, and a big chunk of that is going towards cloud computing, intellectual property protection, data privacy and especially the Google’s acquisition of ITA Software, which the U.S. Department of Justice is reportedly investigating for possible antitrust violations.

But as the social network now ranks as the second largest web company for traffic and capitalization — depending on which rankings you’re referring to, of course — perhaps Facebook might need to invest more in lobbyist efforts in 2011.

What do you think about the difference between how much Facebook spends on lobbying versus the competition?