Big Tech companies are infamous for their massive lobbying muscle in Washington D.C., where they spend roughly $100 million annually to try and manipulate the policies meant to govern them. In 2020 alone, Facebook and Amazon spent more money on lobbyists than did Raytheon, Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing—major players in the defense-industrial complex.
The shadow influence of Big Tech on the institutions and academics of public policy formulation is just as significant, although far less transparent. For more than a decade, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple have been dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars a year into the think tanks and research arms of universities, paying for the intellectual infrastructure to support their favored policies. Who they pay, and how much, is only disclosed if the recipient deigns to make it public.
To tackle this problem, the American Principles Project (APP) has recently announced a new tool designed to help both the public and lawmakers make sense