Facebook, Amazon set lobbying records

Facebook and Amazon both set quarterly records for federal lobbying over the last three months, leading a pack of tech giants that are increasingly under siege in Washington, according to federal disclosure forms filed Monday.

Each company spent a little more than $4 million on lobbying in the second quarter, the first time either firm has spent that much on their influence operations in the capital.

The surge in spending comes as Congress and regulators are scrutinizing tech giants’ market power and handling of user data. Facebook and Amazon were among the four companies that testified about their effects on competition and small businesses last week before the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on antitrust.{mosads}

And the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is expected to announce imminently a settlement with Facebook to wrap up the agency’s investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The settlement reportedly includes a roughly $5 billion fine.

The FTC and the Department of Justice are also said to be conducting a review of tech companies’ use of their market power that could potentially lead to an antitrust investigation.

“Amazon provides a wide range of products and services for our customers, and we’re always looking for ways to innovate on their behalf,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to The Hill. “Our Washington, D.C. team is focused on ensuring we are advocating on issues that are important to our customers, our employees and policymakers.”

Facebook declined to comment.

Google, which has also seen its fortunes change in Washington, spent just $2.9 million in the second quarter — the least it’s spent on lobbying since 2011. Google declined to comment.

And Apple, which also testified at the hearing last week, spent a relatively modest $1.8 million, up slightly from the same period a year ago. A spokesman for Apple declined to comment.

Updated at 2:27 p.m.

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