Ahead of Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance to the White House on Wednesday, the tech and social media giant disclosed on Monday that the company had spent almost equal amounts of money in trying to persuade lawmakers on different key issues for the third quarter of 2019 as the entire year of 2018.
Between July 2019 and September 2019, Facebook spent at least $12.3 million for Washington lobbying. Last year, the company spent $12.6 million for the entire year. Facebook’s spending on lobbying also exceeded the money spent by other so-called FAANG companies.
The disclosure comes ahead of Mark Zuckerberg’s scheduled appearance, where he will be questioned by the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday. According to the disclosure, Facebook has spent money on lobbying for different key issues, including blockchain policy, election integrity, data security, internet competition, high-tech worker visas, privacy legislation, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, and bullying prevention.
It comes in a time when Facebook is under scrutiny following its announcement of its cryptocurrency venture, Libra. Many agencies and central banks around the world have already echoed their opposition to Facebook’s Libra project because of its potential to disrupt the global financial and banking system.
In the United States, both Republicans and Democrats lawmakers have urged the tech giant to halt the release of Libra, citing the different implications of the cryptocurrency to the economy and the stability of the global financial system.
News reports said that the Libra project would possibly be one of the issues to be talked about during Zuckerberg’s White House visit. According to sources familiar on the matter, Wednesday’s meeting is planned to focus on the impact of Facebook and its business on the financial and housing sectors.
“We see the Libra project compounding political pressure on the company, amplifying privacy and antitrust concerns and enabling more opposition,” said Robert Kaminski, a Capital Alpha Partners analyst, in a note. “We expect questions on Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal’s decision to withdraw from the project, lending credibility to lawmakers skeptical of the project’s viability and ulterior motivations.”