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This is ridiculous. We had shadow banning on reddit in 2007, four years before this was ever filed. In fact, we met with Facebook and told them about it before 2011, and they hadn't considered it before that. I'm pretty sure reddit is where they got the idea...

To be fair, there was no public record of it until 2012 or so.

> To be fair, there was no public record of it until 2012 or so

I'm not sure if reddit publicly acknowledged it before then, but it was certainly known that you were doing it. (It was also pretty damned obvious that you guys were fucking with vote counts -- e.g. "66% like it" on every post -- among other questionable anti-spam tactics...)

The earliest record I can find of the idea being discussed on reddit -- there might be earlier ones, this was just the earliest I've been able to dig up so far -- was in a suggestion by user ltbarcly back in June 2007:

> A better idea is a silent ban. Let him post comments, and show him those comments, but just leave them out for everyone else.

Source, as preserved by archive.org: https://web.archive.org/web/20070604141333/http://reddit.com...

There are also blog posts complaining about it from well before 2012 -- e.g. here's one from 2010: http://www.stochasticgeometry.ie/2010/03/09/silently-banned-...

The comments on it even use the term "shadowbanned".

Fwiw the 66% like it was legit. When a post got popular it attracted downvotes from other submitters who thought downvoting everything else would boost their submission. If you looked at posts in niche subreddits they regularly had 90%+.

I would have to do more research than I care to to prove it, but I'm pretty sure from my personal recollection that the 66% phenomenon ended after this change: https://www.reddit.com/r/announcements/comments/5gvd6b/score... -- assuming my memory is correct, that suggests it was an artifact of the anti-cheat techniques being used. (Not an intended one though, obviously, if you guys believed 66% was legit before the recalc.)

Shadowbanning didn't originate at Reddit either, it's been a feature of online forums since at least the 90s.

No of course it didn't. I'm just saying I think Facebook implemented it after we told them about it on reddit. It wasn't something they had thought of before that. We did it on reddit without knowledge of the other cases too. It's a pretty obvious solution honestly.

That seems unlikely, shadow banning has been around for a long long time.

I think he's saying that as far as Facebook goes, they for sure knew in 2012, so they can't plead ignorance or convergent evolution.

Well he said he knew that they took the idea from Reddit, that's the part that seems unlikely.

> and they hadn't considered it before that. I'm pretty sure reddit is where they got the idea...

pretty sure implies he has a hunch that they did, not 100% certainty. They may've said they hadn't considered such a thing before in a "forum" that the OP was able to overhear this either directly or indirectly and it wouldn't be a stretch to consider that in Facebook's history of borrowing from others, they then borrowed it from reddit.

It doesn't discount that it existed prior to reddit, just that they may have been the source for Facebook.

Microsoft was selling Office 365 subscriptions for a while and I never bought one. Eventually, I bought one from Amazon. So it is both true that I got it from Amazon, but that Microsoft had them prior.

This! We were shadowbanning people on IRC in like 2001. Unreal IRCd had a shadowban plugin that literally did exactly what modern shadowban features do.

I remember /shun.

I don't suppose the term "Asgard" means anything of significance to you, does it?

Greybeard BB Golden Rule: If Techy doesn't play nice, Techy goes to Coventry

I remember it from the old bulletin boards on Freenet since at least '94.

vBulletin (a forum package like phpBB, but not open source and you had to pay for it) had a shadowban feature they called "Tachy Goes to Coventry" and there are references to it as far back as 2003.


In its most basic understood form, dating well back to before the term was coined, this functionality existed in BBS software in the 1980s...it sure as hell predated anything Facebook ever developed.


Based on comments in this thread (and my own experience on BBSes), it predates Zuckerberg being born. Just for some perspective of how ridiculous this patent is.

The original article was posted in December, 2011


There it was originally called "Hellbanning"

Patents are a joke.

Yeah, and it's a sick practice. My 8 year old account was shadowbanned for criticizing an advertiser in a sponsored link.

Does this fact invalidate Facebook's patent, from legal point of view? (Imho it should)

I am pretty sure at my school in the 90s we were shadowbaning on IRC. No one thought it was anything else than a trivial idea.

I agree , I have seen this before on Reddit. It's normal procedure nowadays but FB getting a patent officially on it...? That's just plain wrong.

Why do you think that Facebook decided to patent it now?

Large tech companies try to patent anything they can do they can have a large portfolio to offer for cross licensing when they get sued.

Also they filed in 2012, it just took seven years to grant.

Employees often get paid a small bonus for each patent issued with them as authors.

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