European Parliament from outside. Photo by Christian Lue on Unsplash

Lobby watchdogs file complaint against Apple front group

Lobby watchdogs Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and LobbyControl have filed a complaint against ACT – The App Association, for their misleading lobbying information in the EU Transparency Register.

ACT, which claims to represent app developers, is over fifty per cent funded by tech giant Apple. Research by LobbyControl shows that ACT’s lobbying positions on the Digital Markets Act are closely aligned with Apple’s. ACT has also intervened multiple times in antitrust court cases on behalf of the tech giant which goes against the interests of app developers. Apple’s monopoly in the market is widely seen as detrimental to app developers.

CEO and LobbyControl have filed a complaint with the secretariat of the EU Transparency Register for misleading lobbying. ACT is not transparent about its membership and has misled lawmakers about the interests it represents. The organisations ask for ACT to be banned from the register which would limit its access to the European Parliament and its meetings with Commission officials.

Big Tech’s shady lobbying tactics have come under increasing scrutiny for their use of front groups. These interest groups claim to represent the interests of SMEs, Startups and software developers, but are heavily funded by Big Tech companies and often parrot its policy positions. In 2020, a leaked lobbying document from Google highlighted the use of third parties to echo Google’s message. Several MEPs filed complaints against Big Tech front groups last year.

Earlier this year, CEO and LobbyControl launched a hotline for leaking Big Tech lobbying called The initiative is supported by a cross-party alliance of MEPs from four different political groups (S&D, Renew Europe, Greens/EFA and The Left). Since the launch in February, several additional MEPs have also joined the initiative.

Bram Vranken, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher says:

“Big Tech has spent enormous resources lobbying the EU to water down important policies against the harms these companies have caused. ACT is another example of the deceptive and opaque tactics central to Big Tech’s lobbying. Not only is this misleading, it also threatens democratic decision-making.”

Verena Leyendecker, LobbyControl campaigner says:

"It is problematic that Big Tech front groups like ACT can interact with EU institutions without having to disclose their funding. We call for stronger transparency rules and the obligation for economic associations to provide information on their funding in the EU Transparency Register."


For more information contact: Bram Vranken,, tel: +32 - 497 13 14 64

Notes to the editors:

  • is an encrypted mailbox to which everybody can share information confidentially on Big Tech lobbying. It is an initiative from CEO and LobbyControl supported by a cross-party alliance of MEPs
  • Research from LobbyControl on ACT
  • The following MEPs support Paul Tang (S&D), Katalin Cseh (Renew Europe), Daniel Freund (Greens/EFA), Manon Aubry (The Left), José Gusmão (The Left), Marie Touissant (Greens/EFA), Patrick Breyer (Greens/EFA), René Repasi (S&D), Kim van Sparrentak (Greens/EFA), Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA)

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