Amazon and Facebook Spent More Money Than Ever Lobbying in 2021

Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.

Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.

Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.

Read More

Facebook Parent Company Will Make Its Office Workers Get the Vaccine Booster

Facebook parent company Meta will require its in-person workers to receive a booster shot in addition to a COVID-19 vaccine, the company announced Monday.

By March 28, Meta employees must have received the booster to use the in-person offices of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, The Wall Street Journal reported. Meta is reportedly delaying the reopening of its offices until late March due to the requirement.

“We’re focused on making sure our employees continue to have choices about where they work given the current COVID-19 landscape,” Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement, CNBC reported. “We understand that the continued uncertainty makes this a difficult time to make decisions about where to work, so we’re giving more time to choose what works best for them.”

Read More

Chase Bank Fined $200 Million for ‘Widespread’ Record-Keeping Failures, Unapproved Communications

Federal regulators hit the largest bank in the U.S. with a $200 million fine Friday for failing to keep track of employees’ use of messaging apps, including WhatsApp, to evade federal record-keeping laws.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Friday that a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co. would pay $125 million after admitting to “widespread” record-keeping failures. The bank will pay an additional $75 million fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for allowing unapproved communications since 2015.

Read More

Big Tech Down: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp Experience Widespread Outages

Smartphone with display of social media apps

Platforms owned by Facebook all experienced outages at the same time late Monday morning, and could not be accessed.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all went down Monday morning, according to outage tracking site Downdetector. Facebook was first reported down around 11:15 a.m., with reports peaking around 12 p.m. with over 100,000 reported outages, according to the site.

When users attempted to access Instagram, a message reading “5xx Server Error” appeared. A message reading “Sorry, something went wrong” appeared when users tried to access Facebook.

Read More

Arizona U.S. Senate Candidate Blake Masters’ Plans to Tackle Big Tech’s ‘Predatory’ Business Practices

Woman in a red suit on Smartphone

Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters wants to break up Big Tech and ban their business practices he believes are harmful.

“I think Republicans need to reacquaint themselves with their history of antitrust enforcement, and realize huge concentrations of power in private hands can violate people’s liberties just as much as government,” Masters said in an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Masters, who announced his candidacy in July, serves as chief operating officer at investment firm Thiel Capital and runs the Thiel Foundation, a philanthropic organization founded by billionaire investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He competes in a crowded Republican primary with fellow candidate and current Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for the chance to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly in 2022.

Read More

Facebook’s WhatsApp Hit with $265 Million Fine for Violating Personal Data Laws

European Union regulators imposed a $265 million fine on Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp on Thursday for failing to adequately inform consumers what it did with their data.

The fine, issued by the Data Protection Commission (DPC), related to WhatsApp’s failure to provide consumers with certain information about how it shared their personal data with other Facebook-owned companies, according to the agency’s announcement. This omission by WhatsApp violated the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU’s data protection and privacy law governing how tech companies collect and share user information.

Read More

Facebook Has Been Used to Organize Migrant Caravans

Thousands of migrants have reportedly used social media apps Facebook and WhatsApp to organize caravans and groups headed to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

The migrants, who largely originate from Central America, started joining Facebook and WhatsApp groups in the months after President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump in the November presidential election, according to Reuters. Members of the groups reportedly warned others that they should time their border treks to ensure they arrived after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

Read More