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How 'The Social Network' got the story wrong
The movie treats Facebook's beginnings like a legal drama, says L. Gordon Crovitz in the WSJ, but the networking site's history is really a case study in innovation
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook improved on social networking sites already in existence.
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook improved on social networking sites already in existence.
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aron Sorkin was going for a "great yarn" when he wrote the screenplay for his hit movie, The Social Network, says L. Gordon Crovitz in The Wall Street Journal. By examining the short history of Facebook "through the lens of lawsuits brought by others seeking a piece of the company," Sorkin focuses on how much credit Mark Zuckerberg, 26, deserves for "creating and building Facebook." But the "true and exciting" story behind Facebook is how Zuckerberg took an idea that was no secret — online social networks, such as Friendster, were already popular — and transformed it into a company valued at $33 billion and 500 million users, in just six years. Here, an excerpt:

There's evidence that Mr. Zuckerberg had a contract to write software for Harvard Connection, a concept of classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra. But a contract dispute is very different from the movie's portrayal of the issue being Mr. Zuckerberg stealing rights — as if someone could have a patent to the idea of a social network...

[If that were possible], innovation would be frozen. Instead, our system promotes innovation, leaving the next college coders free to improve on what came before, just as Mr. Zuckerberg did.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.
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