Facebook roundup: shares close at $19.05, Instagram deal progresses, Oregon data center to be expanded and more

Facebook shares sink further – Facebook shares closed at $19.05 today, dropping more than 4 percent as the lock-out period ended and large investors were able to begin selling their shares. The number of shares available for trading increased 60 percent on Thursday, which led the stock to fall 6.3 percent that day. In all, Facebook’s value has been cut in half from its IPO price of $38. Over the next nine months, more shares will be freed up, which could push the price even lower.

Instagram deal could be closer to closing – Facebook is reportedly looking to push its acquisition of Instagram forward by using a California law that allows it to issue shares without approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The deal has been delayed because of SEC investigations that occur whenever companies make large acquisitions. The U.K.’s Office of Fair Trading approved the deal earlier this week. Until the deal goes through, the two companies must operate independently. Instagram, for example, launched a blog for businesses and added a new photo map feature this week.

Facebook looks to expand Oregon data center – Facebook filed an application with the city of Prineville, Ore., to construct a new data center near its existing facility opened there in April 2011. The proposed 62,000-square-foot building is nicknamed “Sub-Zero” and will house a new type of deep-storage device that powers off when it’s not in use. Currently a rack of Facebook servers use about 4.5 kilowatts. Facebook tells Wired that its goal is to have the new servers operate at around 1.5 kW.

Social games and App Center reach new milestones – Facebook shared that there are more than 235 million people playing games on Facebook.com each month, compared to 205 million during this time last year. The number of people playing games on Facebook has grown by 8.4 percent since the beginning of the year. In July, Facebook drove people to the App Store and Google Play more than 170 million times. More than 150 million people used the App Center in the past month. The new section of the site is driving 2.4 times more installs than the previous apps and games dashboard. Facebook also says users who install an app from the App Center are 35 percent more likely than the average user to return to the app the following day and 17 percent more likely to return within a week.

Facebook plans national convention presence – Facebook announced its plans to be involved in both the Republican and Democratic national conventions, including holding events about the social network and its marketing and app platform, giving conventioneers opportunities to share their experience and launching the “I’m Voting” app.

Facebook launches payer promotion API – Facebook released a new API this week to allow social game developers to see whether a person is eligible for a “payer promotion” and then serve them with a custom unit to highlight the offer. The payer promotion, which is subsidized by Facebook, gives certain users a discount on virtual currency. Now in addition to letting users know about these promotions through TrialPay offer walls and DealSpot, developers can create their own in-game units that may increase conversion and lead players to buy more currency.

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