A patent taken out by Facebook could potentially harm competitors in the social networking world.
The patent is related to streaming feed technology and is called “dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network”.
AllFacebook.com, first reporting on the news, described it as a “huge deal” – Facebook could litigate against social networks breaching the patent.
The patent, filed by Mark Zuckerberg and others in 2006 is “A method for displaying a news feed in a social network environment is described. The method includes generating news items regarding activities associated with a user of a social network environment and attaching an informational link associated with at least one of the activities, to at least one of the news items, as well as limiting access to the news items to a predetermined set of viewers and assigning an order to the news items. The method further may further include displaying the news items in the assigned order to at least one viewing user of the predetermined set of viewers and dynamically limiting the number of news items displayed.”
Twitter is a giant news feed but it’s unclear at the time of press whether Facebook will use this hammer to crack the tweeting nut.
Other sites and techniques on the web also, on the face of it, could face litigation if Facebook turns into a Rambus.