iFive: Congress Grills Facebook, Foursquare Promoted Check-ins, eBay Infrastructure, Sold Out Verizon iPhone, Super Bowl Chatter

Friday’s here, as is our daily roundup of the early innovation news:

1. Mark Zuckerberg is in the spotlight again, this time not in an awkwardly humorous way: Congress is “grilling” him (by letter) about Facebook’s plans to share user cell phone numbers and current addresses with developers. The bipartisan group is concerned this is a step too far along Zuck’s road to reinventing online privacy, and wants to know all about the plan. Facebook has until February 23rd to answer.


2. Foursquare is due to try out a new form of monetization: Promoted check-ins. It’s a scheme that, in a slightly different way, is doing well for Twitter–so Foursquare is trying it out from this Sunday. The “promoted trending venue” is Super Bowl Sunday, a virtual check-in crafted with the aid of the NFL–it’s just a trial, so no sponsorship cash has changed hands, but we can see Foursquare adopting the idea long-term.

3. eBay’s trying something novel: Taking a leaf from Amazon’s book, it’s offering copies of parts of its own digital business infrastructure to outsiders, so they can craft their own businesses on them. But while Amazon’s charging for its services, it’s offering the Java-based Tumeric code on an open source basis to the community. That’s pretty altruistic, though presumably eBay is hoping to get some positive PR for it.

4. Were you curious as to how well the iPhone 4 on Verizon may sell? Here’s your answer: The pre-orders have sold out. We don’t know how many phone units this equates to, but it suggests that Apple and Verizon have a hit on their hands, and we can expect that shortly after the phones go on sale in physical stores on February 9, Apple will reveal a press release reporting at least a million units were sold.

5. Can we predict the Super Bowl winner from the amount of chatter in online social media? A new study shows that social media “chatter” about the event is down about 26% from last year’s game–possibly because people are now used to the social media phenomenon, or the teams don’t inspire much national enthusiasm. But the chatter has increased by 2% for the Green Bay Packers–possibly revealing the crowd’s favorites. Can the Packers win big on Sunday? We’ll know in two days.

To read more news on this, and similar stuff, keep up with my updates by following me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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