Facebook roundup: mobile app, lobbying, HQ expansion, mental health and more

Facebook finishes 2012 as No. 1 mobile app in U.S. – Facebook edged Google Maps as the top mobile app in the U.S. at the end of 2012, according to ComScore. Google’s app had been No. 1 until October when Apple implemented its own maps product as the default in iOS 6. However, Google put out a new version of its maps app, which has been very popular. Google Maps has been within the top 5 free apps in the Apple App Store since it launched in December, according to AppData.

Facebook lobbying surges in Q4 – Facebook spent $1.4 million on lobbying efforts in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to disclosure forms filed with the clerk of House of Representatives this week. This is the first time Facebook has spent more than $1 million on lobbying in a single period. During Q4 2011, Facebook only spent $444,000. Facebook’s yearly spending for lobbying increased 196 percent from $1.335 million to $3.99 million. Comparatively, Google spent $16.48 million on lobbying in 2012, up from $9.68 million the previous year.

Report: Facebook activity can be used to understand mental health – Facebook activity and other social media profiles could eventually be used as tools for psychologists and therapists, according to research from the University of Missouri. Researchers found that using social media activity reduces of the problems associated with patients’ self-reporting because they can see how patients expressed themselves naturally and there is not an issue with a patient’s memory affecting the accuracy of the information they share. There is other helpful information psychologists can glean from a person’s Facebook profile. The study found that people with social anhedonia tended to have fewer friends on Facebook, communicated with friends less frequently and shared fewer photos. Hiding Facebook activity also was considered a sign of higher levels of paranoia.

Facebook HQ expansion plan approved – The Menlo Park City Council unanimously approved a deal this week that allows Facebook to expand its headquarters with a second campus in the city, the Mercury News reports. The social network company will distribute $1.5 million to the city over 10 years, adding $100,000 for local improvements and at least $194,000 a year in property taxes. Facebook will also have to restrict the number of vehicles entering and leaving the campus. The company’s existing East Campus headquarters are made up of a cluster of buildings, but the new West Campus will be one long, single-story building with a tree-covered roof. The two areas will be connected with a tunnel.

Infusionsoft acquires GroSocial – Social media marketing software company GroSocial was acquired by sales and marketing software provider Infusionsoft this week. GroSocial will be integrated with Infusionsoft’s customer-relationship marketing, marketing-automation and ecommerce tools, and the GroSocial app will feature an Infusionsoft widget allowing users to capture leads and trigger automatic following up. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the two companies said the 19-person GroSocial team will join Infusionsoft, bringing its employee count to 370.