Big tech seems to have invested a substantial amount of money and effort into amassing a huge army of lobbyists. As the four big tech companies Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple may potentially face antitrust violation charges, they have now intensified their efforts to please the administration to save themselves from what seems to be a huge blow to their monopolies.
It is reported that big tech’s combined spending on lobbying is a whopping $55 million, compared to a mere $27.4 million spent for the same in 2016. The tech giants have nearly doubled their spending on lobbying and are carrying out most of its activities through a group known as the ‘Internet Association.’
As of now, 238 lobbyists are employed by the tech giants and it is reported that nearly 75% of these lobbyists have either served in the government or in political campaigns. Many of these lobbyists were also found working in offices of officials who had a huge say in the upcoming course of action with regard to the charges against these tech companies.
The lobbyists are heading several influence campaigns aimed at a broad range of activities such as calling members of Congress, advertising, funding think tank research, and efforts to gain President Trump’s attention. Especially, President Trump’s on and off stance on economic populism seems to be a major concern the tech giants.
The Internet Association has awarded the Internet Freedom award to Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump’s daughter, and White House senior adviser. It can be clearly noted that the award was biased and a probable attempt at lobbying.
With passing time, it is becoming increasingly clear that these tech companies are in deep water. While Facebook and Google are drilled over data mining, consent issues and more, Amazon is being met with unease over the labor conditions as well as its impact on small businesses. The stock prices have also gone down earlier this week, indicating the negative impact of privacy allegations and malpractices against the companies.
It is also to be noted that Sen. Josh Hawley, one of the leading voices against the big tech and an avid supporter of antitrust laws has contacted Facebook, Twitter, and Google in the past.
While the accusations against these companies seem to be backed by strong evidence and instances depicting outright abuse of privacy and data, only time will tell what happens to big tech. Everything aside, the court proceedings, investigations, and the lobbying has, however, profited the lawyers, public relations experts, and political operatives.