Facebook Roundup: Stock, Patents, Expansion Abroad, Scams and South Park

Facebook Still Dominates SecondMarket – Facebook continues to dominate the transactions of private company stock on SecondMarket, where some transactions put the company’s valuation at $17.6 billion. In March Facebook accounted for 41% of transactions, down from 48% in January, a total of $70 million was traded on SecondMarket in March.

Other Facebook-related companies also accounted for significant portions of SecondMarket’s volume: 7% for Zynga, LinkedIn took 10%, Twitter 4% from totals of 72% for consumer products/services and 14% for both media/entertainment and IT services. Facebook accounted for one-third of buyer demand and former start-up employees still comprise the majority of sellers.

Facebook Sued for Patent Breach, Again – Another lawsuit claiming Facebook violated someone else’s patent highlights one of the reasons why the social network has been filing patents for its innovations lately. A lawsuit filed by Cross Atlantic Capital Partners in 2007 claiming that Facebook violated their patent for what amounts to the idea of social networks is makings it way through court. According to TechDirt the patent filed in 2001 is for a “system for creating a community for users with common interests to interact in.” After the lawsuit was filed, Facebook apparently asked for an extension to try to work things out with patent examiners, but that didn’t work, so the lawsuit is back on.

UK Enlists Facebook to Get Out Vote – The Electoral Commission of the United Kingdom has enlisted the help of Facebook to help register voters before the April 20 deadline (although technically they can register up until May 6). Users in the U.K. who log into the site over the weekend will be asked if they have registered to vote, if not, they will be linked to the Electoral Commission to enter their information online, then print out a page with this information and sent by mail to their local electoral registration office.

Part of the reason for the collaboration is that the Commission estimates 3.5 million people eligible to vote in 2001 weren’t registered, also, turnout has fallen in recent elections. According to the BBC report, “Richard Allan, director of policy at Facebook, said many of the site’s users were traditionally excluded from politics. ‘One of the strengths we have is to try and capture that group, particularly the 18-24 year-old voters, who have often not turned out to vote, and use the fact that many of the things on Facebook are familiar to them to get them engaged.’”

Facebook in Singapore, Russia – As we reported earlier this week, Facebook is set to open an office in Singapore this summer, having registered its name, rented an office, listed a half-dozen positions in development and sales.

Also, Dow Jones reported that Facebook is set to open an office in Russia, having discussed the issue with big cell phone companies there. Apparently one of Facebook’s leading software engineers, Andrew Bosworth, is set to appear Monday in Moscow at an Internet technology conference where he will detail these plans.

South Park Episode Critiques Facebook – The Comedy Central show “South Park” ran a recent episode covering Facebook and all the irritating ways that it can invade your real life. Some of these included: peer pressure to join, your parents joining, obsessions over relationship statuses, obsessions over Farmville and people who think that Facebook-related chatter translates directly into real-life friendship.

Facebook Fights Page Scams – As Facebook grows, so does spammer creativity. Gift card scams are popping up all over Facebook in the form of Pages that seem official offering generous gift cards that turn out to be fake sites meant to collect data and generate traffic for spammers’ advertisers. A few examples include Best Buy, Ikea, Whole Foods and Wal-Mart gift cards, but the exact number of Facebook users who become fans of these Pages is unknown, Facebook said it was “minor.”