Facebook Gets Patent on Its News Feed: Game Over?

Nah, Twitter et al. probably in the clear

By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 25, 2010 10:11 PM CST

(Newser) – Facebook has received a patent for its news feed, a status update that could have consequences for its social-networking competitors—though analysts disagree on how wide-reaching, if indeed Facebook chooses to go after the likes of MySpace, Twitter et al. “Indeed,” Caroline McCarthy writes for CNET, “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.”

  • “If Facebook can make news feed a Facebook-only feature,” Ben Parr posits at Mashable, “then it drains the usefulness of countless social networks while boosting its own. However, the process of exercising that patent would get very ugly, and we’re not sure if Facebook has a lot of incentive to jump into the snake pit and incur that type of PR damage.”
  • And, points out Nick O’Neill, who first dredged up the news for AllFacebook: “It appears that this patent surrounds implicit actions. This means status updates, which is what Twitter is based on, are not part of this patent. Instead, this is about stories about the actions of a user’s friends. While still significant, the implications for competing social networks may be less substantial.”

A Facebook news feed.   (Facebook)
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