Facebook spent $1.61M on lobbying expenses in first half of 2012

Facebook is making its presence felt in Washington D.C. with an increasingly padded wallet allocated to courting the nation’s lawmakers.

The social network, according to its second quarter lobbying report (see below), spent $960,000 on lobbying expenses from April through June of this year. That’s roughly the same amount that Facebook spent on lobbying for all of 2011, and a 200 percent year-over-year increase in lobbying spend.

Altogether, Facebook has shelled out a total of $1.61 million on lobbying costs in the first half of the year.

Why the big bump in Capital Hill-related expenditures? With a burgeoning user base of 901 million people, the social network has been catapulted to the center of the nation’s consciousness and forced to address matters such as the implications of confusing privacy settings or concerns around facial recognition technology.

“Our presence and growth in Washington reflect our commitment to explaining how our service works, the actions we take to protect the more than 900 million people who use our service, the importance of preserving an open Internet, and the value of innovation to our economy,” a Facebook spokesman told The Hill.

Specifically, Facebook has spent to educate members of Congress and other federal agents on its security and privacy practices, as well as advocate for and oppose a number of pieces of legislation that could affect its business.

In the second quarter, Facebook’s lobbying agenda included everything from foreign relations matters and protecting the online safety of children (which may relate to its ambitions to open up the network to kids under 13) to patent reform, corporate tax issues, and reform of the immigration system as it relates to high-tech workers.

Photo credit: Pan Xunbin/Shutterstock


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