Facebook lobbyists have been keeping busy in Washington, D.C. this year.
In the first quarter of the year, Facebook spent $230,000 lobbying the federal government on issues core to the platform’s business, such as online privacy and equal access to the Internet.
That’s a striking figure considering the total amount dedicated to lobbying in 2010 was $351,390; and $41, 390, was spent in the same period last year, marking a six-fold increase, according to OpenSecrets.org.
It’s a clear indication that the social networking site is growing its presence in the nation’s capitol as many of its policies, like online privacy, come under scrutiny from lawmakers.
Facebook is following in the footsteps of other technology companies, such as Google and Microsoft, which have raised their profiles in Washington after facing questions regarding their practices from regulators.
The sharp increase in federal lobbying dollars isn’t terribly surprising, since Facebook has been staffing up in the nation’s capitol for some time now. The most recent such hire is Joel Kaplan, a former Bush Administration official, who was hired to run the site’s operations in D.C. News reports indicate that the firm now has an inside lobbying staff of four, comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans.
In an email, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said
This increase represents a continuation of our efforts to explain how our service works as well as the important actions we take to protect people who use our service and promote the value of innovation to our economy.
Readers, what do you think about Facebook’s lobbying efforts?