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Did Facebook steal Timeline? This Chinese social network thinks so

The Chinese online space is renowned for its clones of Western social media sites, but at least one company thinks copying goes the other way too.

According to Beijing-based consulting company Marbridge, Chinese social network L99.com plans to sue Facebook for stealing the idea of Timeline.

L99.com CEO Xiong Wanli claims that his company launched its Timeline feature back in February 2008, connecting all the functions and features on the site in a chronological history of each user’s activity.

Xiong says the L99 launch was a matter of public record and claims that he has video evidence of Mark Zuckerberg attending a lecture he gave at Stanford, introducing his company’s timeline feature. Although the video is his smoking gun, he hasn’t released it yet, which means we don’t have any real clear idea just how damaging it might be. It’s also unclear quite why it’s Xiong so long to come forward with the accusation.

According to The Next Web, well-known Chinese lawyer Xu Xinming reckons that L99 has a realistic chance at winning but cautions that it will be difficult to attach a precise monetary value to the timeline feature.

If nothing else, the ruckus caused by the accusation is generating publicity for the Chinese social network. By the looks of things, it wouldn’t go unmissed either. It is some distance behind leading Chinese social networks such as Sina Weibo, Tencent, and Renren.

The Next Web reports meanwhile that it has an Alexa ranking of 350 within China and that Censys.net gives it a global ranking of 3 100.

Author | Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter

Nur Bremmen: Staff reporter
Nur is an enigma with a passion for creating words. He recently entered a love affair with technology and chorizo sausages. He travels a lot -- you catch him, if you can, at a Silicon Cape event every now and again. More