Skip to Content

Stock photo from Unsplash

Big Tech, the top lobbyists in the EU

With 97 million euros per year, Big Tech is the largest lobbying sector in the EU. With the sector's increasing financial power, its political influence has increased.

Published: May 9, 2022, 11:47 am

    Read more

    The largest technology companies (Big Tech) have recently spent more than 97 million euros per year lobbying the institutions of the EU to steer new legal regulations in their favour. According to the Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), an organization that studies lobbying in the EU, the digital giants are the sector with the most lobbying spending, ahead of big pharma, the oil industry, finance (12 million euros), the chemical industry (17,75 million euros) or the automotive industry (9,85 million euros).

    According to the CEO, while over 600 organizations are lobbying the EU on the subject of digital economic policy, it is dominated by just a few corporations: Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Huawei, Amazon, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, Vodafone. These companies represent 31 percent of the expenditure (32 out of 97 million euros). Other significant lobbying contributions are made by companies in the digital platform economy: the budgets of Netflix, Airbnb, Uber, Spotify, Alibaba and eBay are between 600 000 and 900 000 euros.

    The top lobbyists work behind the scenes

    The high spending gives Big Tech firms privileged access to policy makers. Their representatives held 271 meetings with high officials of the EU administration, namely the EU Commission, the EU Parliament and the EU Council. Lobbying is also often done indirectly, for example via think tanks (e.g. the European Center for International Political Economy, which is funded by Google), consulting and PR firms (e.g. FleishmanHillard), law firms, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry associations or academic institutions .

    According to the CEO, lobbyists from the six largest tech platforms and IT infrastructure companies have met with the EU Commission since December 2019. Google met 46 times, Facebook and Microsoft 40 times each, Amazon 20 times and Apple and Huawei 14 times each. That works out to 174 contacts for the top group alone, or over three contacts per week.

    The danger of lobbyists

    The dangers that emanate from this are broad: Combating a narrow definition of “misinformation”, censorship on the Internet, general surveillance of the population and monopoly efforts undermine democratic principles, are sad examples of too much influence wielded by these corporations.

    Another example is Big Tech’s lobbying campaign to prevent restrictions on its invasive, profitable advertising surveillance model, a core business of digital companies like Google and Facebook.

    In this model, data traces of Internet users are recorded and profiles are created, which can then be used in a targeted manner – from car advertising to the manipulation of voters’ preferences. The Harvard economist Shoshana Zuboff criticized this model for systematically violating the private sphere of citizens without their knowledge and for being based on a monopoly.

    Zuboff’s work is the source of many original concepts including “surveillance capitalism”, “instrumentarian power”, “the means of behavior modification”, “information civilization”, the “individualization of consumption” and “the coup from above”.

    Many issues that plague contemporary society including the assault on privacy and the so-called “privacy paradox”, behavioral targeting, fake news, ubiquitous tracking, legislative and regulatory failure, algorithmic governance, social media addiction, abrogation of human rights, democratic destabilization, and more are reinterpreted and explained through the lens of surveillance capitalism’s economic and social imperatives.

    Big Tech has intensified lobbying

    Over the past decade, Big Tech has steadily increased its influence, replacing previously dominant lobbying sectors such as finance and big pharma, according to CEO. In 2013, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon spent 7,3 million euros (a third of today’s amount). With the exception of Microsoft, the budgets were all under one million euros.

    In a year-on-year comparison from 2021 to 2020, some of the largest technology companies have increased their lobbying budgets in connection with recent negotiations on legal provisions (Digital Services Act, Digital Markets Act) affecting the technology and digital sector, most notably Apple.

    According to the CEO, Apple ‘s main concern was to fight regulatory measures that could loosen its control over the App Store or Apple’s mobile operating system. For this, the big tech group hired the Atlantic Council think tank, which invited EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders to an unofficial dinner with Apple. The whole thing happened in September 2021, when the EU Parliament and the EU Council were still discussing their positions on the Digital Markets Act.

    Critics of the legislation have said it could break encryption for messaging, making products less useful for users, and it provides little clarity on how companies should be regulated. The final text will drastically affect consumers across the globe. Despite this, the discussions among the entities concerned took place behind closed doors.

    “A new set of lobby documents released by the European Commission and Swedish Government via freedom of information requests, shows intense corporate lobbying to shape the final stage EU discussions of new tech rule,” the CEO warned. The lobbyists have tried to limit surveillance ads and expand external scrutiny of how the platforms’ systems amplify or demote content.

    The International Center for Law and Economics is worried that the DMA “appears to blur the line between regulation and antitrust by mixing their respective features and goals”.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    DESTRUCTIVE HAILSTORMS will become more frequent and violent with increasingly larger hail, predicted solar researcher Valentina Zharkova back in 2019 when she stated that it's one of many signs of an impending Grand Solar Minimum. This is exactly what we have witnessed this year in both Europe and the world. Here is the German town of Benediktbeuern in Bavaria after a hailstorm on August 26th. Almost all rooftops and cars were damaged. The centuries-old church and monastery were damaged for the first time ever. Interestingly, the monastery was rebuilt in 1699 during the Maunder Minimum. Combined with heavy rainfall, extreme weather will devastate a significant portion of our food production. For instance, heavy rainfall destroyed a quarter of all crops in Greece in just two days in September. However, mainstream media remains silent. Photo: X @safe0007/Sandor Feher

    NOAA Predicts Zero Sunspots for Almost the Whole 2030s

    CLIMATEThe United States' government scientific organization, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicts zero sunspots from 2031 to 2040. This is an extreme situation that has not occurred in as long as humanity has been counting sunspots, and it leads us into uncharted territory in terms of our solar system. However, this prediction aligns with the warnings of the world-renowned solar researcher Valentina Zharkova for many years, who indicated in 2019 various signs of this catastrophic phenomenon, including the extreme hailstorms we have seen in Europe and the world this summer. The forecast and various observations this year give cause for very significant concern. In this unique analysis, Free West Media explains why.

    NATIONALIST COLLABORATION TAKES SHAPE. Six parties met in Budapest on August 26th to sign a joint declaration confirming the friendship and political unity among the parties. The goal is to either form a new group in the European Parliament after the EU elections in June next year or to reconstitute the existing Identity and Democracy (ID) group with the new parties. Pictured from left to right: Mikael Jansson (Alternative for Sweden), Thierry Baudet (Forum for Democracy, Netherlands), László Toroczkai (Mi Hazánk, Hungary), Kostadin Kostadinov (Vazrazhdane, Bulgaria), and Josef Nerušil (Svoboda a přímá demokracie, Czech Republic). Also included is Mass-Voll from the non-EU country Switzerland (inset image). Photo: Free West Media

    European Nationalist Parties Forge Cooperation Ahead of EU Elections

    EUROPEAN ELECTIONSOn Saturday, August 26, representatives of six European nationalist parties gathered in Budapest. The meeting was initiated by the Hungarian party Mi Hazánk and took place in the national parliament. Representatives of the parties signed a joint declaration that not only reaffirms the parties' friendship but also their unity on a range of complex political issues. A surprisingly clear and radical manifesto was established. The hope is that this cooperation will lead to success in the EU elections and eventually result in the formation of a group in the European Parliament. For Swedish nationalism, this meeting marks a success as Sweden, for the first time, has a party represented in a leading nationalist cooperation in Europe. Free West Media was present at this historic event.

    Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson participated in the Pride parade in Stockholm where Erdogan was ridiculed, something that Turkey took particularly badly. Photo: Nya Tider

    Turkey Believes Sweden Hasn’t Done Enough

    Sweden will have to wait a bit longer for NATO membership, according to Turkey's Justice Minister Jilmaz Tunc. First, Sweden must extradite the "terrorists" Turkey wants and stop the desecration of the Quran.

    Ka-52 crashes after being hit by a Swedish RBS 70. Russian sources report that one of the two pilots died in the crash. Image: Telegram

    Swedish Weapon Takes Down Russia’s Best Attack Helicopter

    The Russian attack helicopter Ka-52 is considered one of the world's best and has struck fear in Ukraine, where it has hunted down tanks and other armored vehicles, often beyond the range of many light anti-aircraft systems. However, it has met its match in the Swedish air defense missile system RBS 70, which has quickly led to significant losses for the Russian helicopter forces.

    Alternative for Germany held its conference during the last weekend of July in the thousand-year-old city of Magdeburg, located by the Elbe River in the eastern German state of Saxony. The first of the two conference days began with a strong program speech by the party's male spokesperson. Subsequently, party officials were elected and motions were addressed. The second day was entirely devoted to candidate selection and positioning for the EU election in June next year. Screenshot: AfD on Facebook

    Strong Confidence in German AfD

    Alternative for Germany (AfD) held a party conference on July 29-30 to select candidates for the upcoming EU election next year. EU Parliament member Maximilian Krah, belonging to the party's more radical, ethnonationalist faction, was appointed as the top candidate. The party's two spokespersons delivered powerful speeches criticizing the EU's failed migration policy and trade sanctions that isolate Europe and Germany from the rest of the world. They argued that it's time for the EU to return a significant portion of its power to national parliaments. However, they have dropped the demand for Germany to exit the EU.

    Maximilian Krah is one of the AfD politicians who is singled out as an ethnonationalist, as he has stated that there is a distinction between ethnic Germans and immigrants who have obtained German citizenship. Krah is a Member of the European Parliament and AfD's top candidate for the upcoming European Union election next year. Still image: AfD on Facebook

    The Establishment Wants to Ban Germany’s Second Largest Party – for the Sake of Democracy

    The rising popularity of AfD has raised strong concerns within the establishment. Despite lies and demonization in the media and isolation from the overall political establishment, the party continues to grow. Certain representatives of the party are accused of becoming increasingly "extreme," and in an unusual move, the influential weekly newspaper Der Spiegel demanded that AfD be "banned."

    FvD was quick to support the protests against covid restrictions. Today, the party also stands behind the farmers protests against the governments’ plans to close a big portion of the farms in the country for the sake of “climate”. The picture is from a protest against covid restrictions in Amsterdam in January of last year. Photo: Wion

    Dutch FvD break through the media blockade

    What is happening in the Netherlands? It is often difficult to follow events in other countries, especially when distorted by system media. We give Forum for Democracy (FvD) the opportunity to speak out on the political situation in the Netherlands and the staunch resistance they face in trying to save the country.

    Albert Bourla (l.) has close ties to Ursula von der Leyen (center). YouTube screenshot

    The Ursula von der Leyen Affair

    After a criminal complaint in Belgium against the President of the European Commission, the so-called SMS-case, now takes a new turn. The judge responsible for the investigation will likely gain access to the secret messages exchanged between Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, at least if they haven't been deleted.

    Daniel Friberg, founder of the publishing house Arktos, tells Nya Tider that they intend to counter censorship by starting new ventures, including an online cultural magazine and an online university. Photo: Arktos

    Publisher of Unique Literature Worldwide Blocked by International Distributor

    Arktos has distinguished itself by publishing groundbreaking philosophers and social critics. Now, the publisher's international distributor has abruptly terminated the cooperation, and more than 400 already printed titles cannot reach their audience. There is strong evidence that the distributor has been under pressure, something that has also happened in Sweden. We have spoken with Arktos founder Daniel Friberg about the ongoing struggle for freedom of speech in a shrinking cultural corridor.

    Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the Catholic bishops who signed the letter, which was read out in churches throughout Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland over the Easter weekend. Photo: The Catholic Church

    Care prompts bishops to criticize transgender ideology

    The Catholic bishops of the Scandinavian countries presented an open five-page letter criticizing transgender ideology on March 21, just before Easter. The document primarily expresses care and advice and was read aloud in Catholic churches in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the signatories of the document.

    Go to archive