Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. spent record amounts on lobbying last year, with Mark Zuckerberg’s social-media company leading the so-called FAANG companies in outlays aimed at influencing Washington, according to disclosures filed late Thursday.
shelled out $19.7 million last year, well above its 2019 total of $16.7 million, its disclosures show. Amazon
reported spending at least $18.5 million in 2020 vs. $16.1 million a year before.
Apple said it paid out $6.7 million last year, below its record outlay of $7.4 million in 2019. Google spent $8.7 million last year, down sharply from its peak of $21.7 million back in 2018, before the search giant reorganized its lobbying efforts. Netflix disclosed spending just $750,000 in 2020, down from its 2015 peak of $1.3 million.
The spending has come as Big Tech increasingly finds itself in U.S. lawmakers’ and regulators’ cross hairs on a range of issues, with both Republicans and Democrats questioning the power of Silicon Valley’s companies.
But FAANG investors don’t look so scared of Washington, as the five companies’ stocks all have outpaced the S&P 500’s rise of 16% over the past 12 months. Facebook’s stock has tacked on 23% over that period, Amazon shares have soared 75%, and Apple is up 72%. Netflix has gained 78% and Alphabet 27%.
Facebook’s disclosures show it lobbied on issues such as internet privacy, election security, worker visas and freedom of expression, while Amazon reported focusing on matters that ranged from postal reform to unmanned aerial vehicles, and from payment processing to autonomous vehicles and the annual defense bill.