If you thought the oil industry was big on lobbying take a look at the tech sector.
Mashable reports that both Google and Facebook have set new records spending money on lobbyists this quarter than they ever have before. Google increased its lobbyist spending from $1.48 million in the first quarter to $2.06 million in the second. Google, the company that has pledged to do no evil, is spending more on lobbyists than Microsoft. Facebook has increased its spending from $230,000 in the first quarter to $320,000 in the second. Up until now, the highest amount of money it had spent on lobbyists was $130K.
Google is focusing on regulation of online advertising, privacy issues, immigration, competition in online services, and cloud computing. Facebook's lobbying focuses on international regulation of software companies and restrictions on Internet access by foreign governments, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and federal privacy legislation.
According to The Hill, Facebook has now gone so far as to set up a political action committee. "FB PAC will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected," a Facebook spokesman said via email.
The Huffington Post reports that Google's total lobbyist count is now up to 93, the highest number the company has ever had in Washington. That amounts to roughly one for every six members of Congress. Certainly that's enough to rival oil companies or politically influential outfits like GE.
Maybe there's nothing to be alarmed about but these companies are positioning themselves to be politically powerful in the not too distant future. And with growing concerns about privacy intrusions from both Google and Facebook, that's a worry.