Facebook Roundup: Prineville, Zynga, Android, Verizon, Egypt, Tunisia, Japan, Zuckerberg and The Oscars

Facebook’s Murphy Back, At Zynga, Too Facebook’s first advertising sales chief Mike Murphy left the company in October to take time off, but now he’s back. Specifically he’ll be doing part-time ad consulting with the Facebook and Zynga, according to AllThingsD. [Image via Facebook]

Facebook Working On Tablet Interface – Facebook is set to improve its tablet interface, Facebook CTO Bret Taylor told TechCrunch this week. That might not mean native apps, but it does mean some interface changes: “We could do more with click-targets,” he said about the current interface on the iPad. “Certain elements are very small.”

Access Facebook Deals with Android Facebook Deals, the company’s Groupon competitor attached to its Places location service, is now accessible for Android V1.5.1 and is available for free on the Android Market.

Boku, BilltoMobile Partner – Mobile payment companies Boku and BilltoMobile have partnered to offer better mobile payments on top of Verizon’s Wireless network. Verizon is set to offer its customers the iPhone in February.

Facebook Awarded $360M Damages – Facebook was awarded more than $360.5 million in damages after a U.S. District Court judge found that a spammer had accessed users’ login information and used it to spam other users.

Crowd Factory Raises $6.5M – Crowd Factory, the crowd-powered marketing app company, announced this week that it had secured $6.5 million from Storm Ventures, according to a company press release.

Facebook Blocked in Egypt – Facebook, along with Twitter, YouTube and mobile Internet, are reportedly being blocked by the government in Egypt in an attempt to quell protests there. Facebook confirmed to Reuters a drop in Egyptian traffic Thursday.

Facebook’s Tunisia Response – Ammar, the nickname in Tunisia for government Internet censors, literally tried to steal everyone’s Facebook password in that country using code that recorded user login information when they accessed their accounts. Facebook first noticed glitches in December, heard anecdotes about profiles being deleted, and noticed things were awry in January. In an interesting profile, The Atlantic reports that Facebook dealt with the problem in five days by first routing Tunisia’s login info to an encrypted server so it couldn’t be stolen and secondly by asking identifying information of Tunisian users who logged in when the code was running.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Fan Page Hacked – Mark Zuckerberg’s Page posted a very strange status update earlier in the week and it turned out that a bug in Facebook’s system allowed “unauthorized people” to post to a “handful” of Pages, according to what a Facebook spokesperson told CNET. [Image via Facebook]

Facebook Data Increasingly Used in Court – Reuters reported that case law is increasingly allowing private Facebook information to be used as evidence in court. Previously data that was marked as “private” was off limits, but this is more often not the case in court.

Insurers Use Facebook to Detect Fraud – Insurance companies are now using Facebook to find out whether or not people are lying to them. For example, one woman took a medical leave from her job, began receiving disability payments, but then was cut off when Facebook photos showed her “frolicking at a beach and hanging out at a a pub,” The Los Angeles Times reported. Similar stories have been appearing in recent years.

Protect Facebook Comments From Facebook With UProtect.it – A new app called uProtect.it allows users who install the tool by bookmarking it and essentially encrypt their data. The app comes from Reputation.com and allows only people the users gives access to see certain Facebook information.

Facebook Used Professionally in Japan – “Facebook is Japan’s LinkedIn,” is the title of an interesting post by paul McMahon, who writes that Facebook’s requirement that users be identified with their real names discourages use as a social network, but this fact also has gotten users to adapt Facebook as a professional network.

State of the Union Chatter on Facebook – The day of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Facebook was abuzz with discussion about the speech and related topics. The U.S. Politics Page on Facebook published a post with some breakdown: Spending was the most-discussed topic, along with jobs, debt and health care; education was a big one, too, and certain politicos got more attention than others.

Facebook A Tech Partner with Sundance – The Sundance Film Festival has partnered with Facebook to bring technical expertise to the festival’s participants. Specifically, Facebook will offer Sundance Institute alumni advice, educational info and best practices on how to engage fans on the social network.

‘The Social Network’ Nabs 8 Oscar Noms – “The Social Network” movie, also referred to as “The Facebook Movie,” was nominated for eight Oscars, including best picture, best actor, best director and best screenplay adaptation.

Facebook Talks Expansion In Prineville, Ore. – Facebook’s server in Prineville, Ore. has allowed the company to host more of the site’s content on its own servers and now the company has begun to talk expansion with officials there. Specifically the city manager said Facebook reps mentioned building a “second building just like the one they just built,” which will eventually cover 300,000 square feet.