Tech Firms Ramp Up Lobbying as Antitrust Scrutiny Increases

Lobbying expenditures by Facebook, Amazon, and Apple are on pace to hit record highs this year, The Wall Street Journal informed. Facebook increased spending by nearly 25%, to $12.3 million, through the first nine months of the year over the same period in 2018, according to disclosures of lobbyists’ compensation filed with the federal government.

Amazon notched a 16% jump in lobbying outlays, to $12.4 million, making it the top spender so far in 2019 among all companies, according to quarterly reports released last week.

Apple boosted spending by 8% so far this year, and Microsoft by 9%. Among individual U.S. companies, Facebook was ranked No. 2 in lobbying spending through Sept. 30, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, followed by Northrop Grumman at $11 million.

The tech lobbying uptick comes amid heightened scrutiny of tech companies in Washington. Facebook is facing antitrust investigations from the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department, and state attorneys general. Amazon is a target of a nascent Federal Trade Commission probe into its market power, the Journal adds.

The House Judiciary Committee is examining Apple, Facebook, and Amazon as well as search giant Google. The firms have said they welcome the scrutiny and are working with investigators.

Google also faces antitrust probes by the Justice Department and states. Its parent, Alphabet Inc., bucked the trend in lobbying spending, posting a 41% decline amid a shake-up of its government affairs operation.

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