Facebook Roundup: Loopt, Fortune 500, Google News, Glitches, PayPal, the Pentagon and Critics

Facebook Interested in Loopt? – TechCrunch reported this week that Facebook has been doing background checks on Loopt, a mobile check-in service, as is usually the case when companies consider an acquisition. Neither Loopt nor Facebook would comment, but MG Siegler points out that Facebook has been behind others in adopting location features. Facebook’s own TOS started including location language a few months ago, and we expect Facebook to roll out location based services later this year.

Fortune 500 Companies Flock to Social Media – Communications firm Burson-Marstellar published a study on social media marketing, the Global Social Media Check-Up, in which they surveyed the 100 largest Fortune 500 companies, finding that 79 of them use at least one social media platform.

Among corporate blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, Twitter was the most used with 65% of the companies using an account, 54% had a Facebook fan Page, 50% a YouTube channel, and 33% had corporate blogs; 20% used all four platforms.

On an interesting regional note, the study found that 69% of U.S. companies had fan Pages on Facebook, but only 40% did in Asia and 50% of companies in Asia had corporate blogs, but only 34% in the U.S.

Google News Redesign – Google News is testing out a new design that includes trending topics on the left, new personalization options, and most recently, different sharing options. Google seems to be testing a design where stories may be shared via email, Google Reader or Facebook, according to TechCrunch, but not with Buzz.

Facebook Emails Sent to Wrong People During Code Push – The Wall Street Journal reported this week that one of their editors received about 100 Facebook messages not intended for him during a glitch that Facebook told them was the result of a bug in the company’s “regular code push.” Everything from mundane messages to one couple’s “explicit” chat landed in web editor Zach Seward’s inbox after a while he was unable to access his account and the messages were subsequently removed from the social networking site. Facebook emailed the Journal and stated, “a bug caused some misrouting to a small number of users for a short period of time.”

PayPal Plans App Store – PayPal is set to open an applications store later this year in hopes that developers can help the company deepen its relationship with external programmers while planning its expansion into mobile payment transactions. Osama Bedier, Vice President of Platform Business Unit and Emerging Technologies at PayPal said the app store represents part of the company’s strategy to “lure external developers after the company opened its payments platform late last year.”

PayPal hopes to expand into smart phone payments and beyond online commerce, which makes up only 4% of retail spending in the U.S. The hope is that, eventually, customers can do things like use PayPal on their phones at the grocery store or while pumping gas.

Pentagon Oks Facebook – The Pentagon ruled Friday that social networking would be allowed for the military, for everyone from ground troops to military higher-ups. The Department of Defense had been reviewing the issue for seven months and decided that social networks were useful for recruiting and public relations, although they allowed commanders the ability to cut off access, temporarily, in the case of security concerns.

Facebook Critics’ Profiles Restored – Three Argentines involved with the production and distribution of a book critical of Facebook were restored access to their profiles last week after almost a month. The profiles of “Faceboom” author Juan Faerman and the book’s promoters Guillermo Otero and Fernanda Gaitan Broun were deactivated without any explanation shortly after the book launched in Europe and Faerman told Venturebeat that his emails to Facebook about his account went unanswered.

Incidentally, a 30,000-strong Facebook group created by fans of the book was deleted, too, Faerman said. Venturebeat said inquiries to Facebook about this issue were returned with the standard “we don’t comment on specific users’ profiles.”