Capitol Hill

Facebook and Google launch lobbying group, The Internet Association

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Some of the country’s largest Internet companies just officially launched a lobbying group, The Internet Association (IA).

The IA’s founding membership consists of Google, Facebook, eBay, Rackspace, Zynga, IAC, TripAdvisor, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Monster Worldwide, salesforce.com, AOL, and Expedia. The group is devoted to issues surrounding Web content.

While other tech lobbying groups, such as Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and TechAmerica, lobby for technology in general, as the fight over—and eventual defeat of—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) proved, not all tech firms have the same interests all the time.

“The Internet Association,” the IA’s site reads, “represents the interests of America’s leading Internet companies and their global community of users. We are dedicated to advancing public policy solutions to strengthen and protect Internet freedom, foster innovation and economic growth and empower users.”

In a statement announcing the launch of the group, association president and CEO Michael Beckman said:

“A free and innovative Internet is vital to our nation’s economic growth. These companies are all fierce competitors in the market place, but they recognize the Internet needs a unified voice in Washington.  They understand the future of the Internet is at stake and that we must work together to protect it.”

It will be interesting to see how Web-based firms and their tech cousins reconcile their relationship. Will they find enough to drive them apart from one another in the coming years to the point that they really begin to regard themselves, and be regarded by others, as separate sectors? Or do the concerns the two share mean every day will resemble some odd Thanksgiving: They have to spend time together because they’re family, but they’re just not as close as they used to be.

Photo by Aditya Srivinasan/Flickr