Date: Sat, 27 Feb 2010 17:23:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CNN - Facebook's news-feed patent could mean lawsuits
Facebook's news-feed patent could mean lawsuits
Facebook this week was awarded a patent pertaining to streaming "feed"
technology -- more specifically, "dynamically providing a news feed
about a user of a social network," complementing another patent filing
that has been published but not yet approved.
The implications for this, as AllFacebook.com pointed out earlier on
Thursday, are far-flung: Facebook may choose to pursue action against
other social-media sites that potentially violate this patent.
Twitter, as AllFacebook points out, is effectively one giant news
feed, to the extent that it clearly has influenced some of the changes
that Facebook made to its own feed technology.
That reaction could be alarmist. And yet prominent figures elsewhere
in the social-media world don't seem thrilled.
"There goes the neighborhood," quipped Chris Messina, an
open-standards advocate who recently joined Google as a member of its
new Social Web Team, on Twitter.
"Can I start screaming loudly about patent reform now?" tweeted Matt
Galligan, who founded a streaming-feeds start-up called Socialthing
and eventually sold it to AOL.
Indeed, technologies that now may be technically encompassed by
Facebook's patent are so widespread on the Web that they're more or
less inextricable from the basic tenets of social media.
We'll probably be hearing more about this patent and how it changes
the industry before long.
How times do change: When the "news feed" first launched in the fall
of 2006, members revolted in one of the first instances of large-scale
Facebook user outrage.
They denounced it as "stalkerish" and disapproved of what they saw as
a lack of privacy controls. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
ultimately posted an apology note to the company blog in response.
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