Facebook have been granted a patent entitled Dynamically providing a news feed about users of a social network.
The US patent. US7669123, was filed 11 August 2006 and is in the name of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and 7 others as inventor. The family includes Australia, Canada and Japan but appears to have granted only in the US so far.
Claim 1 of the application read as follows:
A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment, the method comprising:
generating a plurality of news items regarding a plurality of activities associated with a user of a social network environment; attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the plurality of activities, to at least one of the plurality of news items; limiting access to the plurality of news items to a predetermined set of viewers; assigning an order to the plurality of news items; and displaying the plurality of news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers
This is a business method, which may not be patented in the UK and Europe. The patent relates to provision of news items to users.
There are concerns that this patent may impact other social network sites such as Myspace. Watch this space.