Facebook Roundup: Ads, Likes, Lawsuits, Privacy, Drinks and More

Canadian Firm, German Govt File Against Facebook – Toronto-based Merchant Law Group filed paperwork seeking class action status in a lawsuit against Facebook this week claiming Facebook mishandled user data during the most recent privacy changes, and seeking the sum of the money the company made as a result of making user data public in that change. It’s not clear how strong the firm’s particular arguments are; what is clear is that some law firms pursue such cases when they think they can get money or at least publicity out of their efforts.

Meanwhile, perhaps more seriously, Germany data protection official Johannes Caspar said in a statement this week that his office had initiated a legal process that could ultimately cost Facebook thousands of euros in fines. The action comes over privacy issues, specifically, April privacy setting changes that exposed the information of people who don’t use the site through Facebook’s email importing settings. Facebook has until August 11 to respond to the legal complaint.

Facebook’s Economic Geography – Visual Economics created a really interesting map of what Facebook’s economy would look like if it were a landmass, representing app companies and Pages by size, and other interesting representations.

Microsoft’s Docs Integrates Facebook – Microsoft’s new Docs.com site has made some changes to its program that allows for better Facebook integration. Currently you can post a document to your Facebook Page. Docs.com users now have the ability to:  post documents for a Page, author a document as a Facebook page, add a Docs tab to your Page and share/manage docs with other Page admins.

Buy a Drink, on Facebook – It’s now possible for Facebook users to buy their friends drinks — real drinks — even if they live in different cities. Web developer Webtab uses Facebook Connect and its Bartab app to coordinate the purchase.

Basically after paying a $1 fee (on the site or via the app) a user can send a drink to someone in the app network in the form of a digital coupon; the indicated drinker must then go to the indicated bar to redeem the coupon.

DC Team Focuses on Privacy – The Hill interviewed Facebook Spokesman Andrew Noyes this week noting that the company’s D.C. team is setting its sights primarily, 90% to be precise, on privacy.

Facebook’s Buchheit Gives Gov a Hand – Code for America, a group working to “import the efficiency of the Web into government infrastructures,” is the beneficiary of the services of Facebook’s Paul Buchheit. The organization is working on several projects with a variety of government groups.

Ladies Love Facebook – Oxygen Media and Lightspeed Research released a report about Facebook usage by women this week. Among the findings was that about one-third of women aged 18-34 check Facebook as soon as they wake up, even before heading to the bathroom. Other findings: 42% of women think posted photos of them “visibly intoxicated” are okay;  57% interact with people more online than face-to-face; 39% call themselves Facebook “addicts”; 21% check Facebook in the middle of the night; 63% network on Facebook; 79% think posted photos of them kissing are okay and 50% are friends with strangers.

Doctors Talk Health on Facebook – USA Today has a piece this week that explores how some health care professionals are using social media tools to help their patients.

Facebook Supports Rel-Me – Chris Messina posted a screenshot showing that Facebook now seems to be supporting the rel-me attribute on its site, used for identity consolidation. Links on one web site about someone connect to other Links about that person, establishing a bi-directional personal rel-me link.