Facebook Roundup: Lobbying, Lite, iPhone, Foursquare and Privacy

Facebook Lite is No More – Before f8 this week Facebook shut down Facebook Lite, launched in 2009 aimed at helping new users with weak Internet connections have a better Facebook experience. As the company announced on Facebook’s fan Page, “we’re no longer supporting it, but learned a lot from the test of a slimmed-down site. If you used Lite, you’ll now be taken to the main Facebook.com site.”

Facebook Grows DC Lobbying – Facebook’s lobbying efforts in Washington D.C. have been growing over the past year and VentureBeat reported that the company seeks to continue this growth by adding another staffer to their current mix of four employees. The article includes an interesting set of documents that show Facebook has been not only lobbying the Federal Trade Commission, senators and representatives, but also strengthening relationships with intelligence and homeland security agencies. These efforts amounted to $41,390 for the first quarter of 2010; the 2009 total was $207,878. According to VentureBeat, Facebook was the only major Internet company to go after the intelligence community, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (17 agencies like the CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency.

iPhone Goes Social? – Engadget reported this week that Apple appears ready to “join the social” by integrating “low-level Facebook event and contacts integration” in the iPhone OS 4. These integrations may possibly include unified calendar and contacts apps and a “separate type of contact” specifically for Facebook and a SocialKitInternal.framework file that Engadget noted could hint at integrating Twitter. The story included copies of the associated .plist files from a an iPhone running OS 4.

Facebook Enters Open Web Agreement – Facebook’s new Open Graph Protocol is under an open license agreement allowing other platforms to use, adopt and distribute it without fear of patent infringement, according to its decision to join the Open Web Foundation. Jesse Stay reported that, two years ago, Facebook joined Google and MySpace to create the Open Web Foundation which created common web agreements for platform builders, and thus, Facebook’s new features like Open Graph Protocol are available to other platform developers.

DST Buys Into Groupon – Digital Sky Technologies, which bought a $300 million stake in Facebook in 2009, recently invested to the tune of $135 in Groupon, a group coupon buying company that uses Facebook for part of its service. Reuters reported that this money would be used to fund global expansion at Groupon.

Facebook is 40% of SecondMarket Auctions in Q1 – Facebook accounted for more than 40% of all SecondMarket auctions of stock from private companies in the first quarter of 2010. Of more than $124 million trades Facebook’s share grew from 21% in the last quarter of 2009 at $50 a share, a $22 billion valuation for the social network. To compare: 10% of transactions involved LinkedIn and 7% from Zynga.

1.5M Facebook Accounts Up for Sale – Security researchers at VeriSign iDefense discovered a cyber criminal who put up 1.5 million Facebook accounts for sale this week. The hacker, “kirllos,” is said to be from Eastern Europe, used Russian to make his offer on a forum and was selling the account information for $25 per 1,000 accounts with 10 contacts or less and $45 per 1,000 accounts with more than 10 contacts.

“Once you have the name and address and other profile-type information from a social networking site, you can use it to corroborate your way into debit card accounts and bank accounts through social engineering,” said Rick Howard, director of cyber-intelligence at iDefense.

Foursquare Reaches 1M Users, May Sell – This week Foursquare hit 1 million users, adding to speculation of whether the company will be acquired by Yahoo! or another company — or just opt to raise more money. Facebook, among others, has talked to the company, although there’s no acquisition deal currently under discussion, according to TechCrunch. Instead, Facebook may partner with Foursquare and other location companies to federate check-ins and other location data.

100 Most Popular Facebook Names – Blogger Günter Grodotzki analyzed about 120 million Facebook active profiles with profile pictures, found more than 3 million unique first names and complied a list of the 100 most popular. The top ten, in order: David (0.61%), Michael (0.52%), John (0.47%), Chris (0.44%), Daniel (0.35%), Sarah (0.34%), Mark (0.33%), Laura (0.33%), Paul (0.32%) and both with 0.3% Jennifer and Mike.