In recent days, the Center for Reactive Policy (Open Secrets) pointed out that technology companies have allocated 54.5 billion dollars in lobbying expenses in Washington in the last twelve months, a growth of 35%, according to the organization of transparency.
Theses figures reopened the concerns about the power that big tech companies are gaining in the US and around the world, and rise questions about possible monopolistic behavior.
How much did tech companies spend in lobbying?
In the case of the company led by Mark Zuckerberg, from 2019 to 2020 has spent 19.3 billion dollars, while Jeff Bezos’ company has allocated 17.8 billion dollars. In the case of the company led by Sudar Pichai, the amount allocated in this period was $ 10.1 billion and it is the only one of the four that has lowered investment in this matter since 2015, as Google in that year registered a spending $ 16.7 billion in lobbying expenses.
Apple for its part reported an expense of 7.3 billion dollars in the last twelve months.
According to figures presented in the Senate Office of Public Records, this year, both Facebook and Amazon spent a record amount on lobbying in the first six months of 2020 as they are preparing for the so-called “techlash,” according to an analysis done by the Statista firm.
In recent years, calls for the regulation of “big techs” have become more relevant and it is enough to see the conclusion reached by the representative of the Administrative, Commercial, and Antitrust Law subcommittee of the United States Congress, David Cicilline. “This audience has made one fact clear to me: these companies, as they exist today, have monopoly power. Some need to be divided, all need to be properly regulated and held accountable.”
A year ago, shortly after representatives from Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple appeared at a House subcommittee hearing to answer questions about possible antitrust allegations, the US Department of Justice opened a broad investigation of the platforms. to review if they have had practices that could be considered monopolistic.
The four tech giants face the US Congress
A year after this investigation was opened, Congress asked that the four CEOs come forward to testify, which marked a historic moment for these companies and the United States body of representatives.
In statements issued before Wednesday’s hearings, the four CEOs emphasized their company’s commitment to the United States and its contribution to the economy, while downplaying various practices that congressional representatives questioned, such as the purchase of Instagram, or Amazon’s controversial use of data.