US: Google spent $150M on lobbying over last decade

Google cut its lobbying spending nearly in half last year from 2018, even as government investigations into tech companies have scaled up in Washington and throughout the country.

Of the four tech giants thought to be facing antitrust scrutiny, Alphabet’s Google was the only one that reduced its year-over-year spending, according to newly released filings.

Here’s the breakdown: 

Google: US$11.8 million, -44% from last year

Facebook: US$16.7 million, +32%

Amazon: US$16.1 million, +14%

Apple: US$7.4 million, +10%

Google faces antitrust probes from the Justice Department and a coalition of 50 attorneys general across the country. Its YouTube subsidiary had to answer to the Federal Trade Commission last year with a US$170 million settlement over claims that it violated child privacy laws. In the fourth quarter, it lobbied on mobile location privacy, online child safety, encryption standards, and more.

Google’s reduced spending reflects that it fired about half a dozen firms representing about half of its lobbying bill, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The move was part of a broader change in Google’s global government affairs and policy operations.