Facebook, one of the many tech companies that opposed the SOPA bill, contributed $1.35 million to lobbyists last year, according to a Mashable report. In the final quarter of 2011, Facebook reportedly donated $440,000 in order to influence policies on international regulation of software companies and restrictions on Internet access by foreign governments. It's the first time that Facebook has spent more than $1 million in lobbying during a single year.
Facebook gave roughly $230,000 in the first quarter of 2011, according to Politico, which also called the sum pittance compared to both Google and Microsoft, which typically spend millions over the course of a few months. For instance, Google spent more than $2 million in lobbying during the final quarter of 2011.
The monthly totals of Google and Microsoft lobbying dollars add up to much more than Facebook's. Google spent $9.98 million in federal lobbying in 2011. Microsoft was close behind, spending $7.34 million over the course of the year.
Facebook's growing investment in lobbying has been paired with the expansion of its public policy team in Washington. The social network hired former George W. Bush Deputy Chief of Staff Joel Kaplan in addition to another one of Bush's top-level advisers, Cathie Martin, to help with lobbying efforts.
This increase represents a continuation of our efforts to explain how our service works as well as the important actions we take to protect people who use our service and promote the value of innovation to our economy, a Facebook spokesperson said to AllFacebook.com, regarding the increase in spending. Whether Facebook ever catches up to Google and Microsoft in dollars spent on lobbying remains to be seen.