The Social Network – You don’t get to 500 Million Friends without making a Few Enemies is a movie about Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook as adapted from Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. On first look it seems to represent a few viewpoints and information gathered from deposition hearings from lawsuits brought against Mark Zuckerberg not even 10 years after the creation of Facebook.
The book The Accidental Billionaires was not well received. However, whether you did or didn’t read the book, the overall consensus is see the movie anyway because the story is much better on the big screen than in print. I have not yet read the book, but after seeing the movie I can confirm it is fit to be seen, perhaps not for its basis in fact though.
I am always skeptical of movies based on true stories as I know it usually means it is a fictionalized portrayal of facts, a number of which are based on pure speculation and that many more that are totally made up to add to the drama. Following every “fact-based” fictionalized movie I watch, I do the research and ask myself a number of questions. I always have to know what truth was portrayed in the movie and where did the screenwriter or producer and director use creative license to fill in gaps or to sensationalize the storyline.
The truth about The Social Network is that it is based on real events as relayed to Ben Mezrich by Eduardo Saverin and from deposition hearings. The viewpoint of one individual is not representative of the truth, even though the movie almost made you feel as if you were getting the viewpoints of Saverin, Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins. A film based on depositions alone would probably be very two-dimensional so speculation pumped up with the excitement of growth in the internet as fueled by social networking made this movie the success it is. Success does not equate to truth. No matter how you cut it, there is still much left to the imagination, and maybe it is that wondering that adds to the likability of this movie, like a good book you hated to end, but that lives on after you’ve read it cover to cover.
What is The Social Network missing? Believe it or not Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t know that it really told the viewer who Mark Zuckerberg was outside of what we could imagine based on real events as they were portrayed. I felt that the movie mostly told me about another exciting milestone for the internet.
The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick, a Forbes Magazine writer may have answers to the questions left behind by The Social Network. Maybe not the truth, but at least it might include the relevant viewpoint of Mark Zuckerberg who was interviewed a few times by Kirkpatrick.