According to a new report, Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and more are pouring money into anti-China lobbying in an effort to curb antitrust legislation in the United States.
Apple and other tech giants pouring money into thinks tanks to battle legislation in favor of stricter regulation
As per the Financial Times’ report, Apple and other Big Tech companies are behind an increase in funding to four of Washington’s most esteemed research groups: the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Center for a New American Security, Brookings, and the Hudson Institute.
Total donations from Big Tech companies to the four think-tanks have risen from at least $625,000 in 2017-18 to at least $1.2mn in 2019-20, according to a Financial Times analysis of financial disclosures. These figures could be as high as $1.2mn in 2017-18 to $2.7mn in 2019-20.
Not all of the groups have published figures for 2020-21, but those that have also show tech donations increasing once more.
It is important to note that while the amount spent is relatively small for the companies involved keeping in mind Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple each have market capitalizations of more than $1 trillion, the funding has ramped up significantly as Big Tech becomes one of the top donors to the think tanks alongside the oil and gas industry.
Some of the people affiliated with the foreign policy think tanks have been vociferous defenders of Big Tech recently, including 12 former top national security officials who signed a letter last September urging Congress to stop working on bills designed to toughen antitrust enforcement.
Last month, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act passed through the Senate committee stage despite various lobbying efforts against it. The bill would stop tech giants from favoring their own products on their platforms. In addition, a growing number of countries are reducing Apple’s tight hold on its App Store rules including South Korea and the Netherlands. Individual states in the U.S. are also working on their own antitrust legislation to curb the power of tech giants. Most recently, the United States Department of Justice and 35 U.S. states came out in support of Epic Games in its antitrust appeal against Apple.
In a request for comment from the publication, Google said, “We have openly contributed to organizations from across the political spectrum for over a decade to encourage a robust debate on good technology policy.” Facebook, Amazon, and Apple did not respond to requests for comment.