Big tech companies using lobbyists to engage with Biden administration: WSJ

Big tech companies using lobbyists to engage with Biden administration: WSJ

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WASHINGTON – Big tech companies are gearing up for a new administration and new scrutiny of their operations with a proven strategy: open their wallets.

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Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. topped all other U.S. companies in federal lobbying spending last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the most recent disclosures. It was the second year in a row that they were spending more than any other company, including mainstays like AT&T Inc. and Boeing Co.

Facebook, facing federal and state antitrust lawsuits as well as a series of hearings calling CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington, spent nearly $ 20 million in 2020, up nearly 18% from the year former.

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Amazon, which saw CEO Jeff Bezos testify before Congress for the first time and continued to push to expand his business as a government entrepreneur, spent around $ 18 million last year, up from around 11% compared to 2019 spending.

“We have made it clear that the internet needs updated regulations, which is why we will continue to express our support for the new rules that respond to today’s online realities,” said Facebook said the spokesperson.

Big tech companies are gearing up for a new administration and new scrutiny of their businesses with a proven strategy: open their wallets. (AP Photo / Michel Spingler, file)

“Amazon offers a wide range of products and services to our customers, and we are always looking for ways to innovate on their behalf. Our Washington, DC team strives to ensure that we stand up for issues that matter to policymakers, our employees and our customers, ”said an Amazon spokesperson.

The Journal analyzed reports filed by US companies with Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Reports cover the whole year.

Apple Inc. disclosed $ 6.7 million in lobbying expenses for 2020, up from a record $ 7.4 million in 2019.

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Alphabet Inc.’s Google also reported a decrease in the lobbying budget for the second year in a row, spending $ 7.5 million.

Apple and Google declined to comment on lobbying spending.

These expenses, which must be disclosed under federal law, are just part of the range of efforts the four tech giants are using to counter their criticisms and create goodwill in Washington as they move forward. are more than ever in the spotlight.

Google and Facebook face multiple antitrust lawsuits, and Amazon and Apple have been the subject of preliminary investigations that could advance further under the Biden administration.

While President Biden hasn’t set a tech agenda or made a choice of key personnel overseeing the industry, Congressional Democrats are pushing him to be more aggressive in the fight against Big Tech’s market power. They plan their own legislation and monitor issues such as antitrust, privacy, liability for user-generated content, and disinformation.

The role of social media in the Jan.6 Capitol riot gave new urgency to these plans and led Facebook, Amazon and others to suspend political donations, thereby reducing a source of influence.

A key part of the business handbook is funding groups that agree with the business agenda.

In another …

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