How Accurate Is: The Social Network (Movie, 2010) Part 2

Facebook's headquarters beginning in 2009, a far cry from their newest building, which has an entire park on the roof.
Facebook’s headquarters beginning in 2009, a far cry from their newest building, which has an entire park on the roof.

Hello everyone! Because I know you are tired of this site only ever pointing out mistakes, today I am going to do a post on the things The Social Network did right. Please do not assume my previous post means the movie was entirely inaccurate; all this website tries to do is educate people on historical inaccuracies so that their views of historical events are not coloured by inaccuracies in popular media. With that said, here are several things that the movie did well.

  • The emails and blog posts present in the beginning of the film appear to have been quoted exactly as written; these were not dramatizations for the purposes of the plot.[1]
  • The depiction of Facemash crashing the Harvard networks was partially accurate; the Harvard Crimson says “traffic to the website was so heavy that [Zuckerberg] could not even log on to his own computer.”[2]
  • Zuckerberg’s anecdote about constructing a program that Microsoft wanted to buy appears to have been accurate; the program in question was named Synapse. Also true is the fact that he turned them down.[3]
  • The role of Eduardo in the business appears to have been related correctly, regardless of any disputes about the nature of his eviction from the company; he was, in fact, the first investor in the company.[4]

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How Accurate Is: The Social Network (Film, 2010) Part 1

A poster for The Social Network.
A poster for The Social Network.

Hello everyone! Today, I decided to do a post that will examine a very contemporary topic; the film The Social Network. This 2010 film, written by Aaron Sorkin, takes a dramatic look at the founding story of Facebook. Yes, this is much more recent than some of the other movies and television featured in recent posts, and it is therefore certainly difficult to decide how much credence to lend the different sides of the story; however, this post will mainly aim to clear up some major misconceptions created by the film’s portrayal of many central characters.

  • To begin, as in any movie, many characters were simply left out to facilitate the plot; for example, Adam D’Angelo, a friend of Zuckerberg’s and briefly Facebook’s CTO, was not present in the film.[1]
  • Similarly, the portrayal of Zuckerberg’s character as a social loner was somewhat inaccurate; he has been dating the same woman, Priscilla Chan, since 2005 and the two are now married.[2]
    • Facemash appears to have been mostly accurate, but there is nothing specifically mentioning him breaking up with a girlfriend; there was something about a girl included in his original blog, however. Furthermore, he created it in a week, not a night, and he was certainly not drunk that entire time.[3]
  • Even those who received favourable treatments by the film have rights to be annoyed. For example, instead of angrily moping as in the film, the real-life Winklevoss twins actually went out and founded their own company, ConnectU. This was the entity through which they eventually sued Zuckerberg, but the company was not particularly successful and has now been so thoroughly lost to history that it does merit so much as a mention in the film.[4]
  • Other, smaller, inaccuracies also proliferate. The most egregious example is the scene near the close of the film where Sean Parker is arrested after being caught with drugs (and underage interns) during the million-user party for Facebook; although the bones of the story are true (Parker was arrested after cocaine was found in a vacation home he was renting), most of the story was simply made up for effect.[5]

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