The Social Network is a 2010 drama film about the founding of the Internet social networking website Facebook and the resulting lawsuits. The film was directed by David Fincher and features an ensemble cast—Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Brenda Song, Armie Hammer, Max Minghella and Rooney Mara.
Aaron Sorkin adapted his screenplay from Ben Mezrich’s 2009 nonfiction book The Accidental Billionaires. Sorkin also makes a cameo appearance as a would-be investor. No Facebook staff or employees, including founder Mark Zuckerberg, were involved with the project, although Eduardo Saverin was a consultant for Mezrich’s story. The film is distributed by Columbia Pictures and was released on October 1, 2010, in the United States to critical acclaim.
12 November 2010
Michael De Luca
Trigger Street Productions
Mark is punished with six months of academic probation after the traffic to the site brings down parts of Harvard’s network, and becomes vilified among most of Harvard’s female community. However, the popularity of “FaceMash” and the fact that he created it in one night, while drunk, brings him to the attention of Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, identical twins and members of Harvard’s rowing team, and their business partner Divya Narendra. As a result, he gains a job working for the Winklevoss twins as the programmer of their website, Harvard Connection.
Soon afterwards, Mark approaches his friend Eduardo and tells him of his idea for what he calls “Thefacebook”, an online social networking website exclusive to Harvard University students. He explains this would let people share personal and social information securely. Eduardo agrees to help Mark, providing a thousand dollars to help start the site. Once complete, they distribute the link to Eduardo’s connections at the Phoenix S-K final club, and it quickly becomes popular throughout the student body. When they learn of Thefacebook, the Winklevoss twins and Narendra believe that Zuckerberg stole their idea while simultaneously stalling on their website; Cameron and Divya want to sue Mark for intellectual property theft, but Tyler convinces them they can settle the matter as “Harvard gentlemen” without resorting to the courts.
At a lecture by Bill Gates, fellow Harvard University student Christy Lee introduces herself and her friend Alice to Eduardo and Mark. She asks that the boys “Facebook us”, which impresses both of them. The girls invite them to a bar, where they have sex in the toilet. Mark later runs into his ex-girlfriend, who is not aware of The Facebook’s existence because she is not a Harvard University student. Stung by this, Mark decides to expand the site to more schools.
As The Facebook grows in popularity, they expand to other schools in the Northeastern United States, while the Winklevoss twins and Narendra become angrier at seeing “their idea” advance without them. Tyler refuses to sue them, instead accusing Mark of violating the Harvard student Code of Conduct. Through their father’s connections they arrange a meeting with Harvard President Larry Summers, who is dismissive and sees no potential value in either a disciplinary action or in Thefacebook website itself.
Through Christy Lee, now Eduardo’s girlfriend, Eduardo and Mark arrange a meeting with Napster co-founder Sean Parker. When Christy, Mark and Eduardo meet Parker, Eduardo becomes skeptical of Parker, noting his problematic personal and professional history. Mark, however, is impressed with Parker since he presented a similar vision of Facebook. Although no deals are reached, Parker suggests that they drop “The” from Thefacebook to make it simply “Facebook”.
Mark moves the company’s base of operation to Palo Alto, at Parker’s suggestion, while Eduardo remains in New York for seeking advertising support, When Eduardo visits from New York, he is angered to find that Parker is living at the house and making business decisions for Facebook. After an argument with Mark, Eduardo freezes the company’s bank account and returns to New York. Upon returning, Christy and Eduardo argue about his Facebook profile, which still lists him as “single”. Christy accuses Eduardo of cheating on her and sets fire to a scarf he gave to her as a gift. While Eduardo extinguishes the fire, Mark reveals on the phone that they have secured money from an angel investor through Parker’s contacts. As a result of Christy’s jealousy, Eduardo ends his relationship with her.
Meanwhile in England, whilst competing in the Henley Royal Regatta for Harvard, the Winklevoss twins become outraged that Facebook has expanded to a number of universities there and decide to sue. Eduardo has also discovered the deal he signed with Parker’s investors allows them to dilute his share of the company from a third to less than one tenth of one percent, while maintaining the ownership percentage of all other parties. He confronts his erstwhile friend Mark and announces his intention to sue him. Later that night, Parker, along with a number of Facebook interns, is arrested for possession of cocaine during a party thrown on the occasion of Facebook’s 1 millionth member.
The framing device throughout the film shows Mark testifying in depositions in two lawsuits: one filed by the Winklevoss twins, and the other filed by Eduardo. In the final scene, a junior lawyer for the defense informs Mark they will be settling with Eduardo, since the sordid details of Facebook’s founding and Mark’s personality will make a jury highly unsympathetic. The film ends with Mark sending a friend request to his former girlfriend Erica on Facebook, and refreshing the page every few seconds waiting for a response.