Earlier this week, on February 23, 2010, Facebook was granted US Patent No. 7,669,123, which covers a patent on a method for dynamically providing a news feed about a user of a social network. the patent application was filed on August 11, 2006, and claims priority from a string of provisional patent applications and nonprovisional patent applications, the earliest being a provisional patent application filed on December 14, 2005.
The Background of the patent explains that social networking websites have systems for tailoring connections between various users, allowing for frequent, automatic notification of changes in the information posted by other users. Apparently as of the time the patent application was filed there were existing mechanisms that allowed a user to display information about other users, including news items, but these news items were disparate and disorganized, thereby requiring users to spend time researching a news topic by searching for, identifying, and reading individual news items that are not presented in a coherent, consolidated manner. thus, what was needed was an automatically generated display that contains information relevant to a user about another user of a social network. Essentially, it seems the resulting “invention” was a news feed for a social network. While this may have been new to social networking sites in December 2005 through August 2006, automatically updating news feeds were hardly new even then.
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