As the 2012 presidential election draws near, both Facebook and Google are ramping up their lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. As Reuters reports, Google spent $3.9 million on federal lobbying during the second quarter of this year, marking a 90 percent increase over its spending in Q2 2011. Facebook, meanwhile, increased its spending by 200 percent over the year, doling out $960,000 last quarter, compared to the $320,000 it spent during the same period last year.
Google's expenses were largely devoted to lobbying officials at the FCC, the Department of Commerce, and the FTC, which has taken Google to task over recent privacy issues. According to public records released Friday, the company focused its efforts on issues such as "openness and competition in online services," "mobile location privacy issues," and "broadband adoption and deployment." The Department of Transportation also received mention in Google's filing, under a section including "autonomous vehicle technology" — something the search giant has been pursuing more vigorously in recent months.
Facebook, by contrast, spent slightly less than $1 million on lobbying last quarter, but has already surpassed the $1.35 million it spent during all of 2011. After taking some criticism for its support of CISPA earlier this year, the company allocated much of its lobby dollars to issues as varied as online privacy, patent reform, cybersecurity, and immigration reform, as well as vaguely-defined "market structure and IPO issues."
"Our presence and growth in Washington reflect our commitment to explaining how our service works, the actions we take to protect the more than 900 million people who use our service, the importance of preserving an open Internet, and the value of innovation to our economy," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement.
Facebook's spending places it ahead of competitors like Amazon and Apple, which spent $690,000 and $470,000 during Q2, respectively, whereas Google's records now place it on par with the likes of AT&T ($3.5 million), Verizon ($3.94 million), and Microsoft ($2 million).