Facebook Replies to Patent Filing

Written by John Ponio    Wednesday, 05 October 2011 15:07

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Recently we posted about a patent filed by Facebook employees that provides for "A method for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain..." Later in the day I posted the article, ZDNet writer Emil Portalinski posted that he had received a response from Facebook regarding this patent:

"Some people have suggested that this application is intended to patent tracking of logged out users. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, a careful reading of the portion of the application that purportedly describes tracking of logged out users (Paragraph [0099] shows that this excerpt is actually describing a fundamental part of Facebook Platform—social plugins that create social experiences across the web without logging into Facebook repeatedly or third party sites at all.

"Our social plug-ins allow Facebook users to go to any website with a social plugin and see what content their friends have liked without logging into that website. The user must, however, be logged into Facebook to see this social content on third party websites. What is being described in section [0099] of the application is the fact that you don’t have to log into Facebook again at each third party site in order to see social plugin content. You just have to be currently logged in to Facebook when you visit the site. If you continue reading the application (i.e. paragraphs [0100] and [0101]), you’ll also find it is consistent with our longstanding principles of notice, choice and control, and offers mechanisms and processes by which a person would be notified and could opt in or out.

There are other things mentioned in the patent application and, for many of those, it’s important to understand how companies use patents. That is, technology companies patent lots of ideas. Some of these ideas become products or features and some don’t. As a result, current functionality and future business plans shouldn’t be inferred from our patent applications."

It has been reported that the bug issue would be fixed yesterday. You can read the patent here.