Facebook is all growds up. The Associated Press reports that Facebook’s first quarter lobbying budget was $230,000, up from $130,000 the previous quarter and $41,390 in the year-ago quarter (credit to TechCrunch for reporting this two months before Businessweek). The report claims that two Democrat and two Republican registered lobbyists are on the payroll; whether they’re consultants or full-time employees is unclear.
Lobbying is nothing new in the tech industry. Google does it ($1.48MM last quarter), Apple does it ($560K last quarter), Microsoft does it ($1.7MM last quarter) and Facebook appears to be quickly catching up. I find these reports interesting because they show what each company is concerned about: for Apple, patent law is at the top; telecommunications for Google; taxes (taxes?) for Microsoft. The AP / Businessweek report suggests online privacy is at the top of Facebook’s agenda, which isn’t surprising. Shifts in these rankings can tell us a lot about what’s important to a company’s future.