Facebook roundup: Blackberry update, patent suit, App Center, studies and more

New Facebook for Blackberry app available – RIM released a new version of Facebook for Blackberry this week, including improvement for event management, birthdays and navigation. The new app includes event information and RSVP functionality. Users can integrate birthdays into their phone’s calendar and receive reminders to write on friends’ walls. There are also updated icons on the navigation grid.

University of California sues Facebook and others for patent infringement - University of California patent licensee Eolas Technologies Inc and the Regents of the University of California filed lawsuits against Facebook, Wal-Mart and Disney on Wednesday over four interactive technology patents they believe the companies are infringing. Two of the patents cited in the lawsuits were declared invalid in February when they were used in a separate lawsuit against Amazon, Google Yahoo and others. Facebook claims the suit is without merit.

Facebook friends influence voter turnout, study finds – Facebook researchers and scientists at the University of California, San Diego found that people who saw messages on Facebook that their friends had voted were more likely to go to the polls than those who didn’t see a similar message. A study conducted they during the mid-term congressional election found that that 80 percent of those who voted were influenced to do so by someone they knew online.

Study suggests small websites benefit most from social sharing – Smaller news sites tend to see a greater percentage of their traffic come from sites like Facebook and Twitter, according to a study conducted by Northwestern professor Rich Gordon and Syndio Social CEO Zachary Johnson and paid for by The Chicago Community Trust. Small websites got more than half their referrals from social media, while the large sites got only about 19 percent from social.

Facebook promotes App Center above News Feed - Some Facebook users saw a large message about the new App Center above their News Feed this week. The social network launched App Center in June as a new means of game and app discovery. The App Center includes more visuals and an improved permissions authorization flow compared to the previous Apps and Games Dashboard. Facebook says 225 million users visit App Center each month, though that number is likely driven significantly by prompts and promotions like the one below.

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