Facebook has filed a laughable patent-application for the well-known practice of "shadow banning"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/09/10356024.html

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If they ban shadows, only outlaws will have shadows.

I was hoping that this was a mock patent to poke fun at all the dark-right whining that they’ve been shadow-banned because they’re not as visible in the world of Lookatme! as they think they should be.


First, there’s the common practice of filing patents for obvious things and then adding “with a computer” and hoping the patent gets issued.

No. There was a time that was true, but no more. Alice Corp Pty. LTD v CLS Bank Int’l (“Alice”) put an end to that in June 2014. As is often the case, the pendulum went too far the other direction, and almost nothing, unless novelty was in the hardware, could be patented. That has started to change and the Patent Office is now closer to a middle-ground. The whole topic of “Subject Matter Eligibility” under 35 U.S.C 101 is still a moving target, but is more certain now. But it remains an additional hurdle to “novel” and “non-obvious.”

Fun reading about it here: https://www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/examination-policy/subject-matter-eligibility


Which reminds me of a fun little game called U.S. Patent No. 1 by Cheapass Games. First player to build a working time machine goes back in time to get the first patent to win the game.


I tried to patent “using the color blue”, but it got denied. Then I patented “using the color blue with a computer” and it almost went through, but then the lackey at the patent office recalled seeing the BSOD and denied that too.


Someone did manage to patent ‘using the colour blue on a squash ball’. This did come with some vision science that claimed you could react faster to a blue ball. I don’t believe it, but they got the patent.

Sony managed to patent ‘the absence of a record option on a tape recorder’. This was valuable as it is what made the Walkman cheaper and lighter.


Holy heck. You can patent the absence of something?!?

I need to get in on the tiger rock business…


In before


Banning shadows isn’t the answer. You don’t see shadows when it’s dark, do you? We need more shadows not fewer, so many shadows that there are no shadows at all.


ETA: you people who say that a correctly placed light source, carefully maintained and regulated, is more effective than universal shadow ownership at reducing shadow associated risks are smoking some potent stuff. Are you going to check everyone that comes through the door for a shadow? Will you shine a lamp everytime someone wants to get a new shadow? It’s not practical and you know it. Besides, it’s my inalienable right to have a shadow and if you don’t like it, you can just suck it.




I personally know multiple former co-workers are the proud “inventors” of multiple software patents that take the form
“Doing [some obvious and established computer process] IN A VIRTUAL REALITY ENVIRONMENT SUCH AS SECOND LIFE”

But shadows at what wavelength? There are UV and IR shadows at night. There are sun shadows, moon shadows, star shadows. You can’t ban them all.

No law would have prevented this shadow. And let’s be honest, in the US, there are so many shadows, that there’s really no point in regulating shadows at all.




Yes! That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying. The illumitards, they think all optical concepts are the same, and all shadows are identical. Then you start talking to them and you discover they can’t tell interference from reflection or dispersion and they’ve got some deeply messed up ideas about absorbance. I mean, using a 800 - 1200nm notch filter on your shadow source says nothing at all about your intentions or why you want a shadow in the first place, but there’s all this pearl clutching over 1200 nm being “too high” (whatever that means), and how private enthisiasts have no business messing around in the near IR. Whatever- but seriously, folks who can’t explain birefringent interferometry have no business talking about shadows.

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This sounds like a satirical analogy of some kind of contemporary societal problem…


Justifies my paranoia that nobody is reading my posts.


This whole article is misinformed and sounds like someone butthurt at the patent system. Truth is, it is actually extremely difficult to obtain a software/business method patent these days because of the heightened standards at the patent office. If you read closely, Facebook didnt patent “shadow banning,” it patented an improvement on a particular method & process related to shadow banning.

Patents on improvements on prior technology us exactly what the patent system is for.

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