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Facts and fictions of “The Social Network” October 15, 2010

It is fall break for Missouri State University and midterms are over! After spending hours studying “The Social Media Bible” by Lon Safko for our midterm, it was nice to come back to St. Louis and not think about social media or school.

And then I watched The Social Network and my social media obsession began again.

I thought that “The Social Network” was a good movie but the because it includes both fact and fiction, I was left not knowing what to believe. Determined to find out, I immediately grabbed my computer and started researching.

The movie is based on the book “Accidental Billionaire” written by Ben Mezrich. Without Mark Zuckerberg’s support, Mezrich managed to write a story portraying Zuckerberg’s life by gathering information from The Harvard Crimson newspaper and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin. A review in The New York Times said the book was “nonfictionish” and that “‘The Accidental Billionaires’ is so obviously dramatized, and so clearly unreliable, that there’s no mistaking it for a serious document.”

I then wonder, how a movie that claims to portray person’s life but is actually made up of partial fabrications is allowed to be produced. Obviously Zuckerberg does not need any more money so there is no need to sue, but if I were the creator of Facebook and was portrayed to be an angry and obesseive person in a movie I would be frustrated. Then again, Zuckerberg reported to Mashable that, “We build products that 500 million people see… If 5 million people see a movie, it doesn’t really matter that much.” Clearly he is not concerned about an effect of the lies.

David Kirkpatrick blogged on the Daily Beast and explained which aspects of “The Social Network” were true and false. He claims to be an expert on the subject after studying Zuckerberg for over a year to write his book “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World”.

A few highlights from Kirkpatrick’s blog include:

  • “Zuckerberg may be the least angry person I have ever met.”
  • Zuckerberg is and has been dating someone since before The Facebook first launched.
  • The Winklevoss brothers were real, though did not have as important of a role in Facebook as the movie leads to believe.
  • “Zuckerberg did wear Adidas sandals all the time, even in winter.”
  • “There really was a zip line from the chimney on the house in Palo Alto that enabled the guys to fly into the pool.”

I encourage you to visit this link for the full story because it is three pages long and includes links to other sources disputing “The Social Network” facts as well.

I definitely enjoyed the movie “The Social Network”. Seeing the coding and complicated thought process the Facebook team experienced in the creation of this amazing product was very insightful and something I hadn’t considered.

I definitely recommend “The Social Network” to you, and now you know how to discern the facts from the fiction!

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