Facebook has increased its lobbying budget yet again. The social network giant spent $650,000 on lobbying in Q1 2012. This is up 182.61 percent from the $230,000 the company spent in Q1 2011, and up 32.31 percent from the $440,000 it spent in Q4 2012.
Last year, Facebook's lobbying budget passed the seven figure milestone: the company spent a record $1.35 million across all four quarters: $230,000 + $320,000 + $360,000 + $440,000. Putting the latest number in perspective, this means Facebook has already spent almost half of its 2011 lobbying budget in the first quarter of 2012.
Facebook's Q1 2012 report lists the following specific lobbying issues:
- Federal policy on online security measures for private industry, data storage, and online safety to ensure the safety of Internet users; modernization of Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2011 (S. 1011); mobile Internet access issues; implementation of Children's Online Privacy Protection Act; Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011 (S. 799); Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011 (S. 1151); Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011 (S. 913); Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 (S. 1223); Do-Not-Track Kids Act of 2011 (H.R. 1895); Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 1528); Video Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 2471).
- Education regarding Internet media information security policy and Internet privacy issues; federal privacy legislation; freedom of expression on the Internet; discussion of location-based services; education regarding Facebook's tagsuggest feature; overview of FTC agreement and Irish Data Protection Commission announcement. Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (S. 2029, H.R. 3782). Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (S. 2029, H.R. 3782).
- Discussions regarding power and water needs to support high-tech growth and investment in Oregon; education regarding use of social networks to reduce energy consumption.
- Education regarding online advertising.
- Discussions regarding cyber security; Data Security and Breach Notification Act of 2011 (S. 1207); Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011 (S. 1151); Data Breach Notification Act of 2011 (S. 1408); SAFE Data Act (H.R. 2577); Data Accountability and Trust Act (DATA) of 2011 (H.R. 1841); Data Accountability and Trust Act (H.R. 1707); Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 3523); SECURE IT (S. 2151); Cyber Security Act of 2012 (S. 2105); SECURE IT Act of 2012 (H.R. 4263).
As all technology companies of Facebook's size, Menlo Park will continue to friend Washington, D.C. as long as it has a list of items it wants help with. Working with the government is one of many ways Facebook is working to protect its interests, and in some cases, the interests of its users.
There are many reasons why Facebook's lobbying is increasing. Here are a few, listed from general to specific: the improving U.S. economy, the upcoming 2012 presidential election, more and more Internet-related bills making their way through Congress, and finally Facebook's upcoming IPO, which overall means more intense scrutiny from everyone who wants to see the social networking giant fail.
The last one is probably the most important. The latest rumor claims Facebook will go public on May 17.
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