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Facebook spent record amount on US lobbying amid Cambridge Analytica row

Hannah Boland
Mark Zuckerberg was called to appear before both US Congress and European politicians - REUTERS

Facebook spent a record amount on lobbying in Washington, ahead of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg's Senate hearing on the Cambridge Analytica data breach. 

The social media giant spent a total of $3.3m (£2.4m) on lobbying the US government during the first three months of 2018, up from its previous record of $3.21m the same period a year earlier. 

In its report, released on Friday, Facebook cited lobbying activities such as "discussions regarding cyber security, data security, encryption, platform integrity and terrorism" as well as those into reforming the immigration system and corporate tax issues. 

Facebook also noted it held "general discussions on data breach" with government bodies. 

In the last couple of weeks of March, Facebook was engulfed in a privacy row after it emerged data from 87 million users had been scraped by Cambridge Analytica in 2014, despite only 270,000 people having actually downloaded the app which managed to access the data. 

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica | The story so far

Allegations also emerged that this data was then employed by both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz during presidential campaigns, although Cambridge Analytica has denied this.

The revelations piled further pressure on Mr Zuckerberg, who was already facing criticism from lawmakers over Facebook's role in Russian election meddling. 

He was called to appear before both US Congress and European politicians, but while he agreed to give evidence in the US and attended hearings earlier this month, he has so far resisted requests from the European parliament and British MPs.

Filings released earlier this week show Facebook spent a total of €2.5m (£2.2m) on lobbying in Europe in 2017, although this was still higher than the €1.2m spent a year earlier.