Facebook pours $4M into lobbying efforts

Facebook's aggressive lobbying push is a sign of the company's expanding footprint in Washington as it responds to questioning from lawmakers and regulators on how it protects its users' personal information. The company is still a relatively young player on the scene, having filed its first lobbying disclosure form in 2009. 

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In the fourth quarter, Facebook lobbied lawmakers and federal agencies on a range of online privacy issues, such as protecting children's safety online and "Do Not Track" privacy policies, as well as high-skilled immigration reform, international regulation of software companies, cybersecurity and educating lawmakers on online advertising.

Facebook also lobbied on issues regarding restrictions on Web access in foreign countries and protecting freedom of expression online. The company had warned its users about some of the proposals submitted for a United Nations treaty on global telecommunications that was negotiated in December, warning that they could threaten Internet freedom and people's access to Web content. The United States later refused to sign the treaty, saying it had troublesome language in the final version.

"Our presence and growth in Washington reflect our commitment to explaining how our service works, the actions we take to protect the billion plus people who use our service, the importance of preserving an open Internet, and the value of innovation to our economy," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

Brendan Sasso contributed to this report