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I found this movie really enjoyable. It should have been longer however because that could have made an evaluation on Zuckerberg's character more explicit. By the end of the movie the issue of his moral standing and his worth as a business hero is not clear. But it is implied by what is shown and what businesss decisions he did make and what opportunities he seized on. By the end the evaluation leans more towards one side but it is not too clear. And also, the issue seems to be over how rude he is, his social skills, and that seems to be detached from a total moral evaluation. "You're rich and brilliant; it's okay if you're an asshole". And that seems to be one of the points of the film: the irony that a guy who revolutionized the way people socialize forever has very poor social skills. I personally did not have too much problem with his social skills, I thought he was correct many times, though a few times he was indeed unnecessarily rude and insensitive.

The key to enjoying the movie, however, is to focus on its drama. The movie is about the conflict between Mark and Eduardo. Watch how the relationship develops, pay attention to the turning points, leading to a compelling and authentic explosion from Eduardo toward the end. I thought Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield were phenomenal. I believe they will get Oscar nods for their performances. They are now two of my favorite actors. This relationship is what dramatically should touch your heart. That this dramatic relationship was mingled with a business endeavor is what I think would attract a typical fan of Ayn Rand.

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It really was a superb film in almost every way. It was like Citizen Kane in more ways than one - the plot (derived from a true story) of friends creating something great then fighting over it, and the quality evident in almost every scene. The underlying theme though, as you might guess from the title, was social circles/networks - ie the REAL social networks that define 'college-life' or opportunity in silicon valley, what parties you get invited to etc.

I'm not sure how much Rand would have approved. It's really an exercise in realism*, the writer (very skillfully) portrayed the messiness of the final situation, but to his credit at least suggested that such messiness (double-crossing colleagues, betraying friends, disrespecting women) comes at a high personal price. Zuckerberg (in the film) is no Roark, he's part brilliant, part Madoff. I have to admire the way almost all the characters had a point, a certain logic and justification to their actions, even though they were all conflicting interests. Ironically though they probably all ended up richer than they'd ever expected probably because they fought each other so much.

*of course, it IS based on a non-fiction book

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Did that whole thing with if he "stole" facebook ever actually get cleared up? As in was a court decision finalized or what have you? (This is more of a side question, not if this is covered in the film). Personally I think he is a jackass either way. I thought I had heard a year or two back from somewhere that the 1 or 2 people instigating that he stole it went to court with him and then he basically settled with them (aka, gave them a bunch of money to desist).

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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He did wind up paying settlements to "the Winklevii" (my favorite line of the movie), but it was probably just to avoid a trial. I admittedly don't know much about intellectual property law, but it's hard to see how they would have a case. It's not like there's a patent to be had for notion of a social networking website.

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He settled with a number of people. The Winklevii initially contacted him to program a social networking site for them, and he accepted. However, he had no intention of building their site, he merely wanted to stall them until he could release his own. That was obviously wrong, but they also say he took some of their ideas. Anyways ultimately they were awarded $65 million in Facebook stock in a settlement.

Another dude sued recently claiming he owned 85% of Facebook because he had a contract with Zuckerberg that was breached, don't know what happened there I think it went nowhere because too much time had passed.

Another dude sued and settled for an undisclosed amount, saying I think that some of the Facebook tech was stolen from him (the guy ran a site at harvard called houseSYSTEM that had a whole lot of student facilities, including one called Ultimate Face Book or something, and later a social network called FaceNet). The two were actually friends (this guy, Aaron somebody, ran the entrepreneurship club and gave Mark advice) but now he feels Zuckerberg just used him and gave no credit.

I think Zuckerberg clearly did some untoward things but it's hard to tell how much of this is just people coming out of the woodwork to claim a piece of the pie (mixed metaphors ftw). I mean you can't sit around doing nothing cause you think someone else may have contributed to your idea that isn't even worth anything yet. Certainly, the settlements they received from Facebook are probably far greater than what their own implementations would have been worth. So it's kind of a 'win win'.

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