Web giants to form powerful lobby in US

Google, Facebook and Amazon will join forces to form trade association that will handle political and regulatory issues.

    Web giants to form powerful lobby in US
    Google has increased its lobbying spending by more than 90 per cent since 2011 [GALLO/GETTY]

    Web giants Google, Amazon, eBay and Facebook will form a lobbying organisation with other online companies to shape political and regulatory issues in Washington DC, according to the Reuters news agency.

    The organisation, to be called the Internet Association, will open its doors in September and will act as a unified voice for major Internet companies, Michael Beckerman, the association's president, said on Wednesday 

    Beckerman is a former adviser to the chairman of the US House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Internet companies have been lobbying recently on issues as disparate as easing visa restrictions to hire overseas
    engineers, revenue repatriation, privacy, cybersecurity and sales taxes for Internet companies.

    "We want to educate [legislators] about the impact of the Internet in their congressional districts," said Beckerman. "In September, we'll do a full rollout and announce companies and announce policy positions."

    Google and Facebook have been steadily ramping up federal lobbying spending.

    Google, the web's most popular search engine, has increased federal lobbying spending by 90 per cent, spending $3.92m in the second quarter to lobby the Congress, White House and various federal agencies, according to regulatory filings.

    Spending on lobbying

    The company, which is being investigated by antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe, lobbied officials at the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Commerce.

    Facebook boosted its spending on federal lobbying by 200 per cent in the second quarter, spending $960,000 on issues including online privacy and immigration reform.

    The world's largest online social network with 900 million users, Facebook said it lobbied lawmakers on market structure and initial public offering issues during the quarter.

    In May, Facebook became the first US company to go public with a market valuation above $100bn, but the debut was marred by technological glitches on the Nasdaq exchange and criticism that it was priced too high.

    EBay spent $400,600 on lobbying in the second quarter, up about 10 per cent from the same quarter in 2011. Its
    lobbying efforts focused on piracy and counterfeiting, air pollution and revenue repatriation, according to disclosure
    filings.

    Amazon spent $690,000 in the second quarter, up about 25 per cent from the second quarter of 2011. Its lobbyists worked on issues including sales tax, privacy and advertising.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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