Spending data for tech companies revealed large fluctuations from 2019 to 2020.
However, the five big tech companies combined (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft) spent slightly less in 2020 compared to the previous year at $ 61.09 million, down 1.8 percent.
In 2020, all of these companies, with the exception of Microsoft, saw their work being investigated by the House of Representatives’ Judicial Subcommittee on antitrust, which concluded that each of them had monopoly power.
Facebook and Google have seen new antitrust lawsuits from both state and federal law enforcement agencies, and both Amazon and Apple are said to be under investigation by federal agencies.
Meanwhile, the elections and the pandemic have raised other questions about the practices of tech companies, including how to format content, display ads, and protect users’ privacy.
For the full year of 2020, Facebook spent $ 19.68 million, more than any other tech company, and its spending on political lobbyists increased by 17.8 percent compared to 2019 when the Federal Trade Commission and 48 state and territory prosecutors filed antitrust complaints against the company.
And in the fourth quarter, Facebook put pressure on issues such as: copyright reform, election integrity, content policy, immigration policies and international taxation.
Amazon ranked second among its major tech peers in 2020 in terms of spending on political pressure at $ 17.86 million, up 10.7 percent from the previous year.
Amazon lobbied in the fourth quarter on issues such as broadband, intellectual property, postal reform, healthcare, and the Police Justice Act.
Google significantly reduced its spending by 36.2 percent on lobbyists in 2020 compared to 2019, for a total of $ 7.53 million.
It also cut its spending on political lobbying by more than 44 percent from 2018 to 2019 when it shed several outside lobbying firms.
Google lobbied in the last quarter of 2020 on topics including regulation of online advertising, digital privacy for students, epidemiological contact tracking and competition law.
Chinese company ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, increased spending in 2020 as the Trump administration tried to prevent it from running the app in the United States and get it to sell it to a new owner.
Putting that effort remains pending in court, but the Biden administration could take a different approach to action.
ByteDance, which spent less than $ 300,000 in 2019, spent up to $ 2.58 million in 2020 on its efforts, which is an increase of 855.6 percent.
The company lobbied in the fourth quarter on issues including a bill aimed at banning the use of Tik Tok by government-owned devices, and modifying content and commerce.
Lyft significantly increased its spending on political lobbying to $ 2.19 million in 2020, which is a 135.5 percent increase over the previous year.
The company was part of a coalition that includes Uber and DoorDash to lobby for passage of Proposition 22 in California, which would allow those companies to continue hiring drivers as freelance workers rather than employees.
At the federal level, Lyft focused its efforts in the last quarter on issues including the future of work, benefits, independent contractors’ tax filing issues, and job classification.
Uber also lobbied on lean work issues, in addition to issues related to the coronavirus vaccine, but it spent slightly less on federal lobbyists this year compared to 2019 at $ 2.33 million, down 1.3 percent.