Facebook roundup: marriage equality, Zuckerberg, Goodreads, Nasdaq, smartphone research and more

Facebook users change profile picture show support for same sex marriage – As the U.S. Supreme Court met this week to address same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged users to change their profile pictures to an image of a pink equal sign on a red background in support of marriage equality. Since then, the image and hundreds of variations of it have gone viral across the social network. Facebook’s data science team found that there was a 120 percent increase in profile photo changes on Tuesday after the HRC launched its campaign compared to the previous Tuesday. More stats are available in a note here.

Report: Zuckerberg gets political – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly involved in forming a political advocacy organization with other Silicon Valley executives, including Joe Green, co-founder of NationBuilder and Causes, who was Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard. The group is expected to work to influence issues related to immigration, education reform and the economy. Zuckerberg has reportedly pledged as much as $20 million to support the Super PAC.

Amazon buys Goodreads – Amazon this week announced its plans to acquire Goodreads, a social reading community and book recommendation platform that integrates with Facebook’s Open Graph. The service will continue to operate under the Goodreads name and its CEO Otis Chandler. Amazon reportedly paid $150 million for Goodreads, which has 16 million members.

SEC approves Nasdaq compensation plan – The Securities and Exchange Commission this week approved Nasdaq OMX Group’s $62 million cash settlement to compensate investors who suffered losses because of glitches during Facebook’s initial public offering on May 18, 2012. The exchange previously proposed only $40 million in compensation, but it increased the amount following criticism that it wasn’t enough. Losses across Wall Street have been estimated between $100 million to $200 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Report uncovers how people interact with smartphones, Facebook – IDC Research released a new report this week sponsored by Facebook, which looked at user behavior on smartphones and found that users check Facebook nearly 14 times per day on average, with an average session time of more than 2 minutes. The full report, based on an online survey of 7,446 18-44 year old iPhone and Android smartphone owners in the U.S. over the course of one week in March, is available here.

Facebook COO becomes bestseller – Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead,” which was released March 11, took the No. 1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list among hardcover nonfiction, print and e-book nonfiction this week. “Lean In” has been on Amazon’s top 100 list of all books for more than a month.

Unity, Facebook collaborate to improve gameplay – Unity Technologies and Facebook this week launched an improved Unity experience on the social network to make it easier for developers to build high-quality game experiences across multiple platforms. Unity’s latest social network API in Unity Web Player improves fullscreen mode on Facebook and gives developers options to better integrate with the social graph.

Newsfeeder highlights most creative Facebook brand posts – The One Club this week launched Newsfeeder.com, a website that showcases creative Facebook page posts made by brands. The project involved a strategic partnership and technical assistance from Facebook Studio. Newsfeeder aims to give marketers and other professionals a place to view best-in-class creative work on Facebook.

Programmer wins second Hacker Cup title – Petr Mitrichev won $10,000 in Facebook’s Hacker Cup competition last weekend. The programmer from Russia previously won in 2011. Facebook’s Hacker Cup brings together the world’s top programmers to solve algorithmic coding challenges in three online elimination rounds. Twenty-six finalists competed at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, Calif., last weekend.