Facebook Roundup: Lawsuit, Publisher, ‘White Flight’, Involver and Vaseline

Facebook Faces Another Ownership Lawsuit – Facebook came under a temporary asset restraining order this week after yet another person claimed to have had a stake in the company. Paul D. Ceglia filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of Allegany County in New York alleging that he owns 84% of Facebook per a 2003 contract he signed with Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has requested the case be moved to federal court.

Ceglia claims he and Zuckerberg signed a contract stipulating that Zuckerberg would design a web site for a $1,000 fee and Ceglia would retain a 50% stake, with an additional 1% stake every business day until Jan. 1, 2004 until the site was completed. The site was to offer Harvard University students access to a live functioning yearbook called The Face Book.

New Facebook Publisher Revealed – A screen shot of the new Facebook publisher was seen on Twitpic this week. It looks like the new publisher is more simplified, including status updates, links and photos, but not videos.

Facebook Set to Announce 500M Users – TechCrunch reported this week that Facebook is set to announce the 500 million user mark with an interesting gimmick. Apparently, Facebook employees have been asked to upload photos of themselves thanking users; these photos were being hosted on a Drop.io account.

Facebook and White Flight – Danah Boyd has released another piece of scholarship on the racial composition of Facebook this week. The book chapter, “White Flight in Networked Publics — How Race and Class Shaped American Teen Engagement with MySpace and Facebook” details this topic and comes from her yet-to-be-published book “Digital Race Anthology.”

Previously Boyd noted that teenagers’ preference for MySpace or Facebook seemed to fall along racial lines, with more affluent white and Asian teens preferring Facebook and working class blacks and Latinos preferring MySpace. This latest chapter notes that MySpace has become a “digital ghetto” to many teens causing “white [and asian] flight” to Facebook.

One caveat is that the two companies don’t normally release racial demographic data about their user bases, although in late 2009 Facebook released some states showing that its US user base reflects the general population. Boyd’s statistical support for her thesis is derived from third parties.

For more see the story or the book chapter.

SocialSenseFB Filters Facebook for Brands – Networked Insights introduced its new Facebook Page application this week, SocialSenseFB. The app analyzes a brand’s Facebook fans, what their conversations consist of, how those conversations are impacting the brand and any issues to be addressed.

Involver Launches Tracking Tool – Involver launched a new program this week, AMP (audience management platform), aimed at helping brands track the ways their fan base grows, partially with frequently updated analytics. AMP consists of a dashboard where brand managers can see Twitter and Facebook followers, schedule content and track interaction. Pricing is tied to the number of Pages or fans to be managed.

DeHood Launches Facebook Integration – Location-based service focusing on hyper-local communities DeHood launched a Facebook integration this week at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat conference. The company also has an iPhone service and iPad app. On Facebook DeHood allows users to invite friends to their DeHood community, find friends already in those communities and post their DeHood-related activities on their Walls.

Govts Get Creative with Facebook – A few foreign governments did some interesting things with Facebook recently. In Ireland, input from Facebook users was taken into account over budget cuts, according to the Department of Finance there. And in the Philippines the government is using Facebook and Twitter to boost revenue by searching from tax evaders online.

Controversial Indian App ‘Whitens’ Skin – Vaseline has introduced a curious Facebook application in India that has caused quite a stir. The App is for a skin lightening cream for men and on Facebook takes a users’ photo divides the face into darker and fairer halves on Facebook to illustrate product effectiveness. Skin lightening products are popular in India and Vaseline’s parent company, Unilever, responded by saying the app was “created for the Indian market as a culturally relevant and engaging way for Indian men to interact with this product.” According to Inside Facebook Gold, India currently has 10.5 million users.

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