Facebook Roundup: Microsoft, Canada, Shopping, Privacy, Spain and Classmates.com

Facebook Breaks Ground in Oregon With a Bang – The Facebook crew broke ground at the location for their new data center in Prineville, Oregon last Thursday with the traditional hard hats and shovels accessorized with Facebook logos. Then, the real fun came, as you can see in this video, when the 6,000 pounds of explosives were used to move some real dirt.

Microsoft Releases Silverlight 4 Beta Client for Facebook this Week — For Windows and OSX; Imran Hussain did a good job of working through all of the available feature, which include friends, profiles, photos, event, messaging, video, etc.

Thursday, Data Privacy Day – A Facebook blog commemorated Data Privacy Day Thursday by asking an array of professionals, governmental officials, academics and other to share their perspective on the meaning of privacy. One notable quote came from Alex Türk, Chairman of the French Data Protection Commission, who said, “Because European citizens have experienced dark times when the exercise of our fundamental freedoms was seriously endangered, privacy has become one of our dearest possessions.”

Canadian Officials Investigate Facebook’s Privacy Policies – Despite a July 2009 investigation examining the privacy issues raised by Facebook, the Canadian Privacy Commissioner is again looking into how Facebook’s new privacy policies handle user information. The investigation follows on the heels of complaints from Canadian users about the privacy policy introduced in December, Elizabeth Denham, an assistant to the Privacy Commissioner, said of the complaint, “The individual’s complaint mirrors some of the concerns that our Office has heard and expressed to Facebook in recent months.” After last year’s investigation Facebook agreed to modify its site to address the Canadian government’s concerns, specifically better explaining how personal information is handled and giving users increased control over their personal information.

Shoppers Visit Facebook Last – A Softpedia study from last quarter indicated that 86% of U.S. online retailers now have a Facebook page, with that number expected to reach 99% soon, despite the fact that consumers have been slow to adopt social media as a shopping destination. The study ranked social networking sites as the least used online shopping resource, with 60% of social media users stating they don’t use sites like Facebook to shop. However, this is changing as people share more about their shopping behavior on the site, and as companies figure out how to advertise on it; Offers exclusive to Facebook fans and Facebook stores are some of the efforts underway.

Clorox Hires Full-Time Social Media Attorney – Clorox, maker of a popular brand of bleach, has begun advertising a position of full-time in-house legal counsel focusing on social media — a new expectation for corporate counsel, according to AdAge. The primary duties of the social media counsel are to “clear and procure intellectual property rights regarding production and distribution of advertising, including Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Recording Artists issues, consumer privacy and video licensing.”

Most Facebook Design Employees Underwhelmed By iPad – On a fun post Friday, Facebook’s design team posted an informal poll about its members’ attitudes on Apple’s new iPad. All told, about 29% were really impressed, 5% were not impressed, another 5% were not impressed but still willing to purchase and 62% said they wanted to “play around with it first” before making a judgment.

Facebook to Open Spanish Office – Business people and tech entrepreneurs were excited across Spain this week on the heels of the announcement that Facebook is set to open a sales office in Madrid. Currently Spain has 8 million Facebook users and the social network’s primary competition is Tuenti Facebook already has European offices in the UK, Paris and Dublin.

Classmates.com Fighting Losses to Facebook – One of the original social networking sites from the 1990s, Seattle-based Classmates.com, is upping the ante through promotions and advertising to compete with Facebook, which scooped up 112 million unique visitors last year as Classmates.com fell to 12 million in December. An increase in paid accounts was attributed to price promotions, brining revenue for last quarter to $58.7 million.

DST’s Milner Chats With TechChrunch – Yuri Milner, CEO of the Russian Digital Sky Technologies that recently invested millions in Facebook and Zynga, sat down with TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington for an interview during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In both cases DST bought preferred stock form the companies and common stock from employees, resulting in the moniker “DST-style deals” for this type of business deal.