Facebook roundup: IPO lawsuits, executive departure, Help Center, China and more

IPO lawsuits to be combined and heard in NY – Dozens of lawsuits against Facebook, the NASDAQ exchange and IPO underwriters will be combined and heard by a federal judge in New York. Federal judges on Thursday ordered that the IPO-related cases be transferred to Manhattan. Some plaintiffs wanted to keep their cases in California, but Facebook requested the transfer, Reuters reports.

Facebook global communications VP to step down – Facebook Vice President of Global Communications Joe Lockhart is leaving the company after 15 months, AllThingsD reports. Lockhart previously served as communications secretary for President Bill Clinton and consulted for Microsoft, Verizon and Pfizer, among others. Lockhart is likely to continue in a consulting role for Facebook, but he wanted to stay on the East Coast rather than relocate to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Facebook redesigns Help Center – Facebook launched a redesigned Help Center this week with a focus on new features, privacy and other topics personalized based on how individuals use the site. For example, users not logged into Facebook might see information about how to create an account or tips on resetting their password. The site also highlights frequently asked questions and Facebook Pages users can Like to get tips and feature announcements.

U.K. considers Facebook login for public services – The U.K. Cabinet Office may use Facebook as part of its Identity Assurance program to help people sign into online public services without the need for an ID card, according to ZDNet. Social media banking and mobile phone companies are being considered to provide secure login mechanisms for private-sector services. “Facebook and people like that are potential providers,” a spokesman for the Cabinet Office said. The office will choose later this month.

Researcher estimates 63.5M Facebook users in China – About 63.5 million users in China are using Facebook, despite a ban on the social network in the country, according to London-based researcher GlobalWebIndex. The number is up from 7.9 million when China restricted access to the service in 2009. Blocked sites can be accessed through proxy services, which connect users to servers outside the country so they can visit sites that are filtered.

Zuckerberg visits Russia – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Russia this week, meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, appearing on a late night talk show and supporting Facebook’s Developer World Hack 2012, a talent recruitment effort. Facebook has fewer than 10 million users in Russia, compared to the local social network VKontakte, which has nearly 35 million users. “Medvedev and Zuckerberg have discussed Facebook’s possible presence in Russia not only as a social network, but also as a company that deals with the most advanced products. They have also discussed Skolkovo as a place where startups could be of mutual interest,” said Natalya Timakova Medvedev’s press secretary.