Facebook escalates lobbying spending

Facebook spent more than $2.4 million on lobbying during the first quarter of 2013, a nearly four-fold increase over the company’s influence spending last year, public records show.

That figure puts Facebook on track to beat its previous record for lobbying spending. The company spent just $650,000 on lobbying during the first three months of 2012.

In its disclosure form, Facebook said it lobbied on a range of key tech issues, including immigration reform, patent reform, online privacy and taxes. The company also said it lobbied on cybersecurity, including the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, that passed the House last week despite a veto threat from the White House.

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The company has publicly stepped up its push for comprehensive immigration reform this year as both the Senate and House work on legislative proposals intended to fix the country's immigration system.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg helped launch a new lobby organization earlier this month that's focused on rallying support in the tech community for immigration reform. LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer are also involved in the new organization.

Facebook also lobbied hard to secure a carve-out provision in the Gang of Eight's immigration reform bill, The Washington Post reported last week. 

In April to June, the social network's lobbying figures are expected to return to same level as in previous quarters. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the increase in expenditure during the first-quarter of this year mainly reflects a one-time compensation related to restricted stock units for several employees.

Google, another powerhouse in the tech world, scaled back its lobbying spending in the first quarter. 

The search giant spent more than $3.3 million lobbying during the first quarter of 2013, compared with roughly $5 million a year ago, according to its lobbying disclosure forms.

Google lobbied on a range of issues, including high-skilled immigration, privacy and competition issues in online advertising, cybersecurity, freedom of expression and intellectual property in trade agreements.

This post was updated at 7:00 p.m.