The limitations of Facebook’s new patent

26 02 2010

The New Kid on the Block
Tuesday the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook patent number 7,669,123, covering “Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network.”

Behold the Mini-Feed
What is “Dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network”? What it is not is a general news feed. The patent is much narrower than that, covering what it describes as a “mini-feed.” A mini-feed is a user-defined set of news feed inputs filtered by the reader. I might create a mini-feed of my family. I can filter the feed by just those activities they undertake relating to an upcoming family reunion, and automatically filter the results chronologically. If my sister joined the Trout Family Reunion fan page, the mini-feed I created and follow would reflect that.

Word on the Street
Pundits are up in arms over this patent, saying it goes “against everything that the patent system is supposed to do,” calling it the most significant social web patent since the six degrees patent issued in 2001 and arguing it could lead to a royalty windfall from the likes of Google and Twitter. Things are not merely so dire. While those forecasts may indeed have merit, they do not comport with my read of the scope of Facebook’s new patent.


The content in this post was found at and was not authored by the moderators of Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment