Facebook spent more than $5M on lobbying efforts in 3rd quarter
Lobbyists addressed issues ranging from climate change to the For the People Act of 2021
Facebook spent more than $5 million lobbying the U.S. government in the third quarter of 2021 as the social media platform remained under fire for various issues, federal filings show.
The lobbying campaign between July 1 and Sept. 30 came amid The Wall Street Journal's scathing collection of negative reports against the company titled, "The Facebook Files," accusing the company of knowing that Instagram is harmful to teenagers' mental health, putting Facebook's success over the wellbeing of its users by changing its news feed algorithm in 2018 and so on.
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A spending report filed Wednesday states that Facebook spent $5.09 million on lobbying efforts in the third quarter and names 14 lobbyists who addressed issues ranging from climate change to the For the People Act of 2021, the filings show.
"It’s not at all surprising to see the increase in Facebook’s lobbying spend given the number of ways Facebook has been in the negative spotlight for some time now, but increasingly in the last few weeks and months," Cory Munchbach, chief operating officer for customer data platform BlueConic, told FOX Business.
"However, it’s important to note that it’s only a 4% increase over last year in the same period and the company employs more than 60 lobbyists — a crucial part of Facebook’s broader strategy has long been to peddle influence in order to avoid scrutiny and, more importantly, accountability from regulators and lawmakers."
Facebook outspent fellow Big Tech companies Amazon, Google, and Microsoft in their respective Q3 government lobbying expenditures.
The spending is not new for the massive social media platform, which spent nearly $4.8 million on government lobbying in the first and second quarter of 2021, and nearly $4.7 million on government lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2020. Facebook also topped $5.2 million on efforts to lobby the government in the first quarter of 2020 between Jan. 1 and March 31.
"They are clearly spending to try and mitigate fallout from the numerous revelations that have led to renewed vigor from Congress to reign in Facebook in ways the others simply do not," Munchbach said. "It’s a good thing their stock price hasn’t been as battered as their reputation to keep the lobbying budget intact!"
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Criticism has continued to pile up against Facebook since the end of the third quarter, as well.
Its Wednesday filing came before former Facebook product manager and whistleblower Frances Haugen's shocking testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee and forthcoming reports regarding "thousands of pages of leaked documents" that Facebook said were "mischaracterized" in an Oct. 18 tweet.
Facebook is also facing a revised antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, which the company is urging the government to throw out. The FTC is accusing Facebook of holding a monopoly in the U.S. since 2011, which Facebook denies, saying it is "entirely without legal or factual support."