Facebook (US$16.71 million, up 32 per cent from 2018), Amazon (US$16.1 million, up 13 per cent) and Apple (US$7.35 million, up 10 per cent) all surpassed their previous individual high-spending marks, while the expenditure of Microsoft (US$10.2 million, up seven per cent) also increased. Google’s government relations activity dropped 44 per cent, to US$11.8 million, the lowest since 2011. (Washington Post, Bloomberg, Politico)
Talking point: The lobbying push comes as large tech firms face regulatory tightening, investigations and political pressure on several fronts, including competition, privacy, data collection, encryption and political advertising. They’re also dealing with a changeable U.S. president in Donald Trump, who sees many of their executives as partisans who oppose him, but whose administration has tried to shield the firms from other countries’ taxes and regulations. While they have so far faced fewer investigations and legislative changes in Canada, the biggest U.S. technology companies have significantly increased their Ottawa lobbying over the last four years. That’s likely to continue as the Liberals introduce promised new data and competition rules specifically aimed at such firms.