We need not stress on the fact that how much Facebook has become an integral part of our lives and how it has revolutionized social networking and mass communication. Modern age communication has gone much beyond phone calls, Skype and even emails! Facebook has provided a dynamic and real time platform for people to connect, share thoughts and ideas and know what’s happening!
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and President and of course the founder of Facebook has gifted our planet this addictive and now essential form of networking. Behind this huge success of Facebook (500 million users as of July 2010), is of course, a story of how it all happened. The story of Facebook was published as a book called The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich and now made into a gripping David Fincher film known as The Social Network.
(Fincher has been one of our favorite directors, Fight Club being not only our favorite Fincher film but also one of the reasons why we started this blog, but more on that in a later post)
The Social Network as a film is certainly entertaining, gripping, inspiring and technically brilliant. David Fincher has certainly come back and pulled another classic after what we considered a dip called theThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
A little synopsis would help the further reading of this article;
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, ran a website called the Harvard Connection inside the Harvard University and they along with Divya Narendra, approached Zuckerberg with their idea of an intra-Harvard social networking site. Zuckerberg, with the help of finances from Eduardo Saverin works on this idea all without the knowledge of these people and creates TheFacebook.com all by himself. As this site expands, the Winklevoss twins feel there is an Intellectual Property theft and sue Zuckerberg. Meanwhile, Napster founder Sean Parker joins TheFacebook and working with him brings the site a further, unprecedented expansion. In the process, Eduardo is betrayed by Zuckerberg and his share in the company is dropped from a 34 to a 0.03 percent.
Interestingly, the story of Facebook as written by Ben Mezrich in his novel is actually what is narrated to him by Eduardo Saverin. Mark Zuckerberg is hence in the words of Mezrich “not a fan” of the book or the film either! Infact he has said that “I just wished that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive” Here is where the screenplay of The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin has been questioned.
One of the co-founders, Dustin Moskovitz calls the film a “dramatization of history ... it is interesting to see my past rewritten in a way that emphasizes things that didn't matter”
One of the strongest and valid criticisms of the movie came from Lessig, a Harvard Law School professor.
“The total and absolute absurdity of the world where the engines of a federal lawsuit get cranked up to adjudicate the hurt feelings of entitled Harvard undergraduates is completely missed by Sorkin. We can’t know enough from the film to know whether there was actually any substantial legal claim here. But from the story as told, we certainly know enough to know that any legal system that would allow these kids to extort $65 million from the most successful business this century should be ashamed of itself. Did Zuckerberg breach his contract? Maybe, for which the damages are more like $650, not $65 million. Did he steal a trade secret? Absolutely not. Did he steal any other 'property'? Absolutely not—the code for Facebook was his, and the ‘idea’ of a social network is not a patent. It wasn’t justice that gave the twins $65 million; it was the fear of a random and inefficient system of law. That system is a tax on innovation and creativity. That tax is the real villain here, not the innovator it burdened.”
Lessig was certainly harsh in saying that Sorkin portrayed Zuckerberg as the villain. The beauty of the film is that it does not draw conclusions. It just told a story with an open ending and tried to be fair to all. The Winklevoss twins, Eduardo and Zuckerberg; everyone’s story was just told…what is to be emphasized and interpreted is totally left to the audience.
But the bigger beauty of the whole story of Facebook is that no matter who narrates it to you…Eduardo (to whom our hearts reach out to, certainly betrayed), The Winklevoss twins, or even Mark Zuckerberg…the genius, the hero, the winner, the creator and the hard worker would always remain Mark Zuckerberg...That is why he is the youngest billionaire in the world…that is why Facebook is currently a 33 billion USD enterprise!!