Facebook gains patent on privacy settings

Social media major Facebook has received a patent in India for systems and methods providing privacy settings for applications installed in their profiles.

According to the Patents Act, 1970, a mere invention in software is not eligible for patent, but the Patent Office observed that the amended claim of Facebook showed the necessary physical interactions among the hardware components and the invention was patentable.

The specification that the company filed with the Patent Office explains that users may usually install applications which can be accessed through a link pasted to a member’s profile, or through an application installed within the member’s profile. Applications installed within the member profile may comprise profile applications or platform applications. These applications are developed by third-party entities outside the social network, by the social network or by members of the network.

For instance, a movie-related application provided by an online company that ships movie rentals to its customers may be able to access and incorporate data such as the member's interests, education and hobbies in order to make recommendations. Such information may be displayed to the member and the member, through the privacy settings under the invention, can determine who can access and view the information.
The member might select other members who can view data about the particular information from the application. For example, the member may determine other members who can view the member's most recent movie rentals.


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