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How to Separate Fact from Fiction in the Movie The Social Network

_The Social Network_ is a dramatized account of the founding of Facebook. Here's what's real in the film, and what is owed to artistic license.

Instructions

  • TIP: Mark Zuckerberg really did have business cards that read, "I'm CEO … bitch," though he had standard ones, too.
  • Step 1: Know that some things are unknowable. Whether Saverin was pushed out of the company because Zuckerberg and Parker felt he lacked vision, or because they wanted a bigger piece of the pie, probably depends on whose point of view you share.
  • FACT: Actor Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in _The Social Network_, has a cousin who works at Facebook.
  • Step 2: Recognize the artistic license in one of the movie's most dramatic scenes: there's no evidence that Eduardo Saverin went on a computer-smashing rampage through Facebook headquarters when he realized that he'd been squeezed out of the company. Though it's safe to say he was really angry.
  • Step 3: Believe in coincidences -- thought that Napster founder Sean Parker bumping into Zuckerman in the latter's Palo Alto neighborhood was too big a coincidence to be true? Not so. Parker really did run into Zuckerberg by chance. _And_ Zuckerberg's housemates really did set up a zip line to the pool that damaged the chimney.
  • TIP: Zuckerberg did once call a girl a "bitch" in his online journal, just like in the movie. But the relationship they had is unclear.
  • Step 4: Know the truth about Facemash, the online game Zuckerberg created that randomly paired photos of female Harvard students so guys could vote on who was hotter. In reality, Facemash was an equal opportunity offender, offering men for evaluation, too.
  • Step 5: Don't buy the film's premise that Facebook was partly born out of Zuckerberg's frustration with being unable to get into one of Harvard's elite clubs. In separating fact from fiction in _The Social Network_, multiple sources insist that Zuckerberg had zero interest in joining such clubs.
  • Step 6: Take the opening and closing scenes with a grain of salt: the film begins with Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg being dumped by his girlfriend, and ends with him still pining for her 5 years later. In reality, Zuckerberg has been with Harvard classmate Priscilla Chan since 2003, the time when the movie is set.

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