Facebook Roundup: Privacy, FTC, LivingSocial, Causes, AdNectar, Zoosk, Virtual Suicides Blocked and Bras

Causes App Now Runs the Facebook Charity Gift Shop – Facebook app Causes, which helps charities gain supporters on the service, now powers the Facebook Charity Gift Shop. The change made this week means users may send gifts to friends’ profiles and the proceeds will go to charity. For example, “Your purchase of a Healthy Baby Kit Gift will help the International Rescue Committee provide a baby delivery kit with a warm blanket for a child born in a crisis zone.” As of Friday, Causes had more than 23 million monthly active users.

Facebook Not #1 in Uptime, But #1 in Response – Facebook played second fiddle to Twitter’s uptime last week, and both got beaten by YouTube, according to AlertSite’s benchmarks from December 28, 2009 through January 3. Facebook had 97.22% availability, while Twitter clocked in at 97.97% and YouTube at 99.13%. However, Facebook beat everyone’s response time with 2.21 seconds.

Another Lawsuit Hits ConnectU Founders – Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the identical twins who alleged that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stole their code and business plan, are being sued themselves by a former partner claiming the pair shut him out of their business.

Wayne Chang filed the suit December 21 in Suffolk County Superior Court in Massachusetts, naming defendants as the twins, their father Howard Winklevoss, business partner Divya Narendra and attorney Scott Mosko and his firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.

For his troubles Chang is seeking a 15% stake in ConnectU, a 50% stake in the dissolve joint venture with the twins, i.e., part of their $65 million cash/stock from their case against Facebook.

FTC Didn’t Greenlight Facebook’s Privacy Policy – Federal Trade Commission Jon Leibowitz told The Washington Post this week that his agency is not “generally in the business of giving general advisory opinion in advance.” When it introduced major changes to its privacy features in early December, Facebook said that it had discussed its “privacy program” with the FTC and other regulators. The December changes prompted FTC complaints from a number of privacy organizations. Leibowitz now says that the complains are being reviewed and that online privacy is an FTC priority in the future. Facebook also clarified to The Post that the it didn’t specifically seek approval from the FTC for its December changes.

GOSO’s App for Auto Dealers Streams Inventory to Facebook – Social media marketer GOSO unveiled a new Facebook app this week that allows auto dealers to connect their inventory to their Facebook page. The  BMW of Minnetonka, Minnesota is the first dealership to use it. The app meshes inventory management with social media marketing, as well as allowing dealers to monitor buzz surrounding their products, according to GOSO.

AdNectar Reaches 2 Billion Virtual Goods – AdNectar, the Palo Alto-based word-of-mouth social network marketing service, announced this week that it reached a benchmark 2 billion virtual goods served from its platform and 10 million virtual goods have been sent between friends on social networks. The caveat is that this number is almost certainly a small fraction of the number of virtual goods served overall. AdNectar’s clients include Gillette, Nestle Toll House, Malibu Rum and Snapple/Dr. Pepper and often virtual goods for these companies spread virally; 1 million Malibu drinks sent in two weeks and more than a million Nestle cookies during a recent campaign. Engagement rates range from 2% to 6%, leading to a 16% rise in purchase intent for Nestle and a 9% increase in brand favorability for Malibu.

France Eyes Internet Ad Tax for Facebook, Google, Among Others – France, ever the culture lover, may be set to institute taxes on Internet advertising revenue for Google, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo!, according to a report commissioned by the culture ministry. Up to €20 million ($29 million USD) a year could be gleaned from the taxes to end the “endless enrichment without payback,” as one author, Jacques Toubon, wrote in the report. President Nicolas Sarkozy reported asked Budget Minister Eric Woerth to study the issue further. The tax would help finance artists and online cultural content.