Facebook Roundup: Birthday, Congress, New HQ, Privacy, Deals, eBay, Gmail, and Messenger

Facebook Turns Seven Years Old – This year the social network grew from a single contained website to a framework for social interaction that is integrated across the web thanks to the Open Graph and social plugins. The Like button gave people a way to structure their affinity, and discover they weren’t alone in appreciating something. Facebook had success with new products such as its location-service Places, while others products such as Groups and Deals are taking longer to catch on. It executed major revamps of its Photos and Messages products that are still being rolled out, and its virtual currency Facebook Credits was adopted by the Platform’s biggest developers.

Some speculate it has grown to 600 million monthly active users from 375 million last year. It became the most visited website in the United States, and Wall Street has taken notice, with the company’s valuation soaring to $50 billion. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that it continues to redefine the way we communicate and share such that it is seen  as a utility instead of a piece of content that could be grown tired of.

Congressmen Badger Zuckerberg Over Users’ Mobile Numbers – Co-chairs of the Congressional Privacy Caucus sent Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter with 11 questions regarding Facebook’s recent move to let developers access users’ mobile numbers. In essence, the politicos want to know more about the thought that went into the feature, and whether users can retrieve this information after the fact.

Facebook Announces New HQ – Facebook announced it would hold a press conference on Feb. 8 to discuss moving its headquarters from Palo Alto to Menlo Park, Calif. The former Sun Microsystems 22-acre campus near the Dumbarton Bridge will become the new Facebook HQ. [Image Via Facebook]

Facebook Outlines Privacy, Innovation Goals – Facebook’s Chief Privacy Counsel Michael Richter wrote a 14-page letter to The National Telecommunications and Information Administration regarding a recent report from that agency about commercial data privacy and innovation on the Internet. Richter outlines Facebook’s goals, specifically ensuring that privacy protections benefit users and the necessity for privacy frameworks to innovation.

eBay Hires Away From Facebook – eBay hired away former Facebook research scientist Dennis DeCoste, who worked on ad matching, search ranking, link recommendation and spam detection, according to AllThingsD. He will now be eBay’s director of research.

Gawker Redesign All About Facebook – Gawker’s redesign went live this week on three of its affiliate blogs and Facebook is the only social media widget included next to stories. Gawker CEO Nick Denton said Facebook is the biggest social source of traffic for the blog network.

Facebook Ambivalent About Role in Uprisings – Facebook officials are carefully trying to balance the way users leverage Facebook to protest their governments with the way the company must play nice with government officials to gain access to those markets.

Rapportive Debuts Deep Gmail Integration – Rapportive, a Y Combinator startup, updated its Gmail add-on this week, reported Mashable. The add-on allows users to see social information about people who send them email, request email contacts as friends, see contacts’ Facebook updates and photos, and Like updates and comments from within an email.

2.8 Billion Minutes of Facebook Chat Via Messenger – Windows Live reports this week that its Messenger service now powers more than 2.8 billion minutes of Facebook chat via 18 million users. The integration has grown 75% since November when we last wrote about it, and amounts to 440 million chat sessions. Windows is also powering up its LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube chat integrations.

Buddy Media By the Numbers – Buddy Media COO Kass Lazerow posted a blog this week about the company’s growth in 2010. The company raised $23 million in Series C funding, partnered with WPP for $5 million more, hired 90 more employees and moved to an office three times as big as its previous space. Seven of the top 10 global advertisers use Buddy Media’s Platform to manage their Facebook presences, the company counts more than 600 clients, the record for the most comments made on a single status update via the Buddy Media Platform was 8,300, 97% of the content managed by the company is fan-generated, and the average number of responses per status update is 39.

BraveNewTalent Raises Capital – Social recruitment application BraveNewTalent secured an undisclosed amount of funding this week, according to TechCrunch. The venture capital funding from Northzone Ventures, Pierce Casey and Mike Bourne is set to be used to hire and focus on the U.S. market.

Storify Raises $2M – The social content curator Storify raised $2 million in funding from Khosla ventures, reports TechCrunch.