Facebook wins a key patent on news feeds
Tuesday 2, March 2010
Facebook has received a patent for the technology that supports streaming of social network news feeds. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week granted the Palo Alto company Patent No. 7,669,123 for “dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network”.
Facebook applied for the patent on Aug. 11, 2006, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg heads the list of inventors.
Titled “Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network”, it says the “method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items, as well as limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items”.
The 16-page patent describes how Facebook presents those status updates, links and more. By Facebook’s own numbers, that’s 60 million status updates per day posted by 35 million users.
The patent now in place could allow Facebook to go take legal action against Google, MySpace and Twitter – which all use news feeds – to protect its patent, if they are in anyway infringing on its technology.
According to computerworld.com, Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research, said that, with this patent in hand, Facebook might be able to legally pursue rivals that are using this news feed technology. The company could push for its rivals to stop using the technology or to buy a license from Facebook to continue using it.
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