The Social Network Movie: What is Fact & What is Fiction?Mara Siegler
There have been plenty of articles about the new movie The Social Network, mostly about how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks it is complete bonk. I have been lucky enough to view a screening (Go see it!!!) and he has not been portrayed too kindly, so why wouldn’t he have issues? Below, we take a look at what is fact and what is not just self-preservation on the part of the young entrepreneur, but actually false. Plot points are revealed, but no major spoilers.
-Jesse Eisenberg plays Mark as angry, insecure, cocky, and a slew of other non-flattering qualities. His sole desire in creating Thefacebook was to gain entrance into an exclusive Harvard club. However, in real life (i.e. accounts from people who know him, interviews, public appearances) he is generally upbeat, quiet, and confident.
He had no interest in posh Ivy clubs. Instead, according to David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, Mark “concluded that sharing and transparency would redefine the Internet and was determined to experiment with software that exemplified his ideas. He also wanted to respond to widespread student dissatisfaction that Harvard had
-In the film Mark is desperate to win back his ex-girlfriend. In real life, this was not the case. By the time he invented Thefacebook, Mark was dating a new girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, who he lives with today.
-Sean Parker did play a major role, though he did not bring in a bunch of pot smokers while Mark was coding. He is also said to not be as much of a jerk in real life, but he was arrested for cocaine when he was with an under-aged employee of Thefacebook, and shortly thereafter left the company.
-Eduardo Saverin, Mark’s best friend and one of the co-founders, did give money to Thefacebook and did freeze the accounts when he was pushed out. Mark, though it’s not portrayed in the film, did put in money as well. Eduardo, it is important to note, did not want ads which the film goes into, but he still owns 5% of Facebook stock today, which is omitted.
-Are there Winklevoss brothers? Yes. Are they hot in real life? Oh, yes. Did they hire Mark to create the web site and then sue Mark in court over what they claim is there idea? Yep. Did they really devise the plan for Thefacebook? The jury is still out and it depends on who you talk to. Their idea was much like Friendster which existed at the time and included the provision that users needed a Harvard address, but many of the other ideas came from Mark and his team. What can be said for sure is that Mark did lead them on and delay them from making any sort of competing site.
-The court scenes are mostly true and taken from transcripts. Mark did wear Adidas sandals all the time, and there was really a zip line (awesome) from the chimney on the house in Palo Alto that enabled them to fly into the pool. Mark’s first business card did read “I’m CEO… bitch,” and he did wear pajamas to make a fake pitch to the venture-capital firm Sequoia Capital.