Facebook on the Forefront of Social Networking Patents

By Libby Jones, Staff Writer

With over 500 million registered users, there is no doubt that Facebook plays a considerable role in our society, but who could have guessed it would advance computer technology too?

Created by Mark Zuckerberg when he was 20 years old, Facebook® has a total of 70 patent submissions to-date. They are trying to patent everything from the action of tagging pictures to their click based search engine.

Because Facebook® is becoming quite the trendsetter as far as social networking patents are concerned, I thought we could take a look at Facebook’s® first patent. Just a few months ago, on Feb. 23, 2010, Facebook® was finally granted a patent for their unique newsfeed (US #7669123). When the patent was submitted in 2006, the newsfeed was implemented on the home page. Suddenly, everything you or your friends were doing was updated on the newsfeed for all your friends to see. If you commented on your friend’s picture, you could bet all your other Facebook friends would know exactly what you wrote as soon as you wrote it.

Proclaimed as the “ultimate invasion of privacy” by everyone from enraged high school teachers to TIME Magazine. Zuckerberg issued a statement prompting Facebook® users to “Calm down. Breathe. We hear you.” I thought Facebook® might just go under as a result of the newsfeed….that lasted for about ten days then everyone seemed to get over it overnight.

More specifically, the patent claims that:

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,

Creepy right?
However, the method goes on to include a feature that protects privacy rights:

limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items.

The “predetermined set of viewers” actually refers to everyone in your “friend” network and so the patent goes on to claim:

The method further may further include displaying the news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers and dynamically limiting the number of news items displayed.

Now can you even remember what Facebook® was like before the newsfeed? Didn’t think so. Here’s a look back:


And here is what Facebook® looks like today:

So, what did you think about the news feed when it first came out in 2006?

Stay tuned for my next blog about the new Facebook®-inspired movie, The Social Network.

September 22, 2010

Category: Celebrity Patents, IP Current Events


10/04/2010 20:15:45

i was blown away by the news feed in 06! it still creeps me out a little but i also like that it keeps me well connected!

10/07/2010 03:24:53

it was an invasion and still is...the online world is a scary place

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