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article imageFacebook snags patent for 'News Feed' minus status updates

By Brenton Currie     Feb 28, 2010 in Internet
Facebook has claimed a patent in the United States for news feeds that are found on almost every social networking site, worrying competitors and outraging technology enthusiasts.
The patent, awarded to Facebook on Tuesday this week, was applied for in August 2006, and is for a system that is responsible for "dynamically presenting a news feed about activities of a user of a social network."
At first it was thought the patent covered every action involving a news feed (such as status updates, images and the aggregation of content), however it now seems that status updates, like those on Twitter, are not protected by the patent; instead it focuses only on "stories about user actions" such as “Dylan is now friends with Lauren” and “Jesse joined the group Friends of the Zoo,”
A Facebook spokesperson would not be drawn to comment on the issue, instead preferring to promote the success of the News Feed.
"The launch of News Feed in 2006 was a pivotal moment in Facebook's history and changed the way millions of people consumed and discovered information on the site," they said.
"We're humbled by the growth and adoption of News Feed over time and pleased with being awarded the patent."
Its not known whether Facebook plans to go after competitors who also utilise the "news feed", but technology enthusiasts across the web have been quick to label the patent a possible competitor killer.
"Screw you Facebook if you start strong arming other sites," one vocal Twitter user said. "This Facebook newsfeed patent is jus[t] dumb!!" another Twitter user said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is named as one of the "inventors" of the news feed, alongside both former and current Facebook employees.
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