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Meta spends $8m lobbying as Congress passes TikTok ban

Meta spends $8m lobbying as Congress passes TikTok ban

The first quarter of 2024 saw the biggest lobbying drive Meta (NASDAQ: META) has ever undertaken. 

Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant spent as much as $7.64 million during the trimester, focusing on a wide variety of areas, including immigration and visas for high-tech workers, green energy, human rights, internet-related issues such as privacy, security, competition, research, trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy issues, as well as advertising, and much more. 

The expenditure overshadowed all of the recent quarters as Meta spent a total of approximately $20 million in the entire 2024 – between $4.5 and $5.14 million each trimester – and was twice as much as that of the next most involved firm, according to data compiled by Quiver Quantitative, a platform best known for sharing politicians’ suspicious trades on X.

Meta’s massive Washington drive coincides with TikTok ban

The massive Washington drive also raised eyebrows as Congress in the same quarter passed a TikTok ban that would force the social media platform to abandon the U.S. or sell its American business to an American corporation.

On April 23, the ban was also passed by the Senate and is, at press time, set to be signed into law by President Biden.

Should TikTok choose the latter, Meta would be one of the top contenders to take over the platform whose user base includes approximately half of all Americans.

Still, it is noteworthy that there is no concrete evidence of a Meta-Congress conspiracy to remove the competitor, and there are other—sometimes non-mutually exclusive—theories that TikTok’s content on Israel and Palestine played a part in the decision.

Ultimately,  the official reason for the decision are privacy concerns and – as Senator Tom Cotton abundantly proved in a now-infamous line of questioning – links to the People’s Republic of China.

Meta’s lobbying efforts and privacy violations

Additionally, the vast expenditure came as Meta is facing a string of regulatory issues and scandals – though admittedly, the company is no stranger to privacy violations and related penalties.

Still, the ongoing controversy over Facebook possibly sharing users’ personal messages with Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is – despite the denials – likely one of the most shocking in its history even amid the current climate in which privacy infringements by big tech platforms are commonplace.

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