Movie Versus Reality: The Truth About The Social Network

The Social Network is about a website which has defined how we interact with each other. A majority of us have a Facebook: our pictures, religious views and even relationship status on display for all of our friends, actual friends or just “Facebook friends”, to peruse. 

 By Rachel Hursen

Contributor

 

The Social Network is about a website which has defined how we interact with each other. A
majority of us have a Facebook: our pictures, religious views and even
relationship status on display for all of our friends, actual friends or just
“Facebook friends”, to peruse. 

The movie, directed by David Fincher, follows
the controversial beginnings of the website without focusing on a single
narrator. The main players, their viewpoints and emotions work together to
create a fascinating film, tell the story of Facebook. 

The plot comes from “The
Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money,
Genius and Betrayal” by Ben Mezrich. However, Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerberg has said that Fincher used the wrong book off ofwhich to base the
movie, and would have gotten the facts had he used “The Facebook Effect: the
Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World” by David Kirkpatrick. 

What is the difference? Kirkpatrick had actual interviews with Facebook
employees and Zuckerberg to base his book upon. Mezrich, however, admits that
his book is a dramatic work, based on unnamed sources and interviews, and
missing an interview with Zuckerberg or any other reliably quoted employee. 

In
fact, the Mezrich book has gotten mostly negative reviews on Amazon.com.
The plot as far as a movie, The Social Network, has been very
successful, pulling in $23 million in its opening weekend.

The biggest discrepancies
between Mezrich’s and Kirkpatrick’s histories of Facebook are the reasons for
lawsuits and the scandals which allegedly led to the lawsuits. In the film,
co-founder and financier Eduardo Saverin is suing Zuckerberg for absolutely
everything. 

Saverin had put $21,000 into the venture, but after a scandal
involving mistreatment of a chicken and a fight between Saverin and Zuckerberg,
Saverin freezes the bank account, creating an instant animosity between the
friends. 

Saverin is also bitter
because of Sean Parker, founder of music download site Napster. Zuckerberg is
repeatedly shown as not caring for money, and ignores Saverin’s attempts to
create advertising revenue on Facebook. 

Parker changes Zuckerberg’s mind,
turning him towards advertising, a necessity, and away from Saverin, who is
becoming expendable. 
When Facebook finally makes it big and begins drawing in
big investors, Saverin watched his shares dwindle while Zuckerberg’s and
Parker’s grow along with the company.

This is fairly similar to
the truth, but the main grounds for Saverin’s lawsuit are not just the
reduction of his shares from 24 percent to 5 percent and the removal of
Saverin’s name as cofounder. According to Saverin, Zuckerberg had promised to
put up $20,000 at the start of Facebook and never did. Therefore Saverin wanted
more compensation for being the sole financial start to Facebook.

There are other small differences between The
Social Network
and reality, but for the most part, the movie sticks to the
facts. It does add some drama, as movies do, but the characters and issues are
portrayed honestly. 

Zuckerberg really does not seem to care about money,
wearing the same North Face jacket in interviews and at conferences, and
admitting to sleeping in a simple one-bedroom apartment. Saverin stopped suing
his former friend when his name was restored as cofounder. 

Both stories end the
same: Facebook is huge. Facebook is a part of our lives, and it is here to stay.