The Social Network
Based on a book by Ben Mezrich, Harvard undergraduates found the most popular social networking website by starting with universities, but disagreements lead to fighting over lawsuits.
At a table in a pub Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) are drinking beer. He asks her how she distinguishes herself from those who got 1600 SAT scores. She asks if he got 1600, and he says yes. She asks if he is trying to get into a final club, and he says he is. He asks if she is going with a crew guy because she said she likes them. She is surprised there are more geniuses in China. He says Theodore Roosevelt punched the Porcellian Club which is the best. She asks if they send a bus around to pick up girls, and he says that is why it is important to get in. She asks which is the easiest to get into. He says none. His friend Eduardo made $300,000 betting on oil futures one summer and did not get in. He thinks she asked which is the easiest to get into because she believes he would have the best chance of getting into that one. She says he is obsessed with finals clubs. He corrects her they are final clubs and implies he is motivated, not obsessed. He wants to do something substantial so that he can get into a club because they are fun and lead to a better life. She suggests he be the best he can be, and he suggests that she be more supportive. If he gets in, he will be taking her to gatherings, and she will meet important people. She asks if he would do that for her, and he says they are dating. She tells him they are not dating anymore, and he asks if she is breaking up with him. She asks what he means that he would help her meet people. He says they are there because she used to sleep with the door guy. She says she has not slept with the door guy, and he is a friend and from a good class. She asks if he was from Wimbledon, and he asks if this is real. He apologizes, and she says she has to go study. He says she doesn’t, and he wants to talk. She says dating him is exhausting like a Stairmaster. They argue, and he says she does not have to study because she goes to BU (Boston University). He asks if she wants to get some food. She is sorry her education does not impress him, and he is sorry he does not have a rowboat. She suggests they be friends, and he declines. He says he has pressure from his OS (operating systems) class. She says he will probably be a very successful computer person, and he may go through life thinking girls don’t like him because he is a nerd; but she tells him that will not be true because it will be because he is an asshole. She gets up and walks off.
At night Mark walks to his dorm room, grabs a beer, and sits down at his computer. He writes on a post to Zuckonit that Erica Albright is a bitch and wonders if all girls are bitches. He figures that she probably is only 34B, but she has a nice face. He wants to take his mind off her. He admits he is a little intoxicated, and his roommate Billy Olsen (Bryan Barter) comes in. He has the Kirkland House Face Book page open and does not like the pictures of the people. He writes that Olsen had the idea of voting on pictures. He likes the idea of the comparison and writes they will need many pictures. He begins the hacking. He easily downloads the entire Kirkland Face Book. He goes to Eliot and gets it without an index.
The Phoenix Club welcomes people to their first party of the fall semester.
Mark notes that Lowell requires a password, but he finds a way around it. Next he gets Adams, but Quincy has nothing online. Dumster has no directory, and he has difficulty and puts it off. Leverett lets you do an empty search and get links; but he has to do one at a time so he plans to modify the Perl script. He works past 2 am. Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) comes in and says Mark split up with Erica. He saw it on his blog. Eduardo asks if he is all right. Mark says he needs an algorithm they use to rank chess players because they are ranking girls. Eduardo gives him a formula with a base rating of 1400.
At a party girls are dancing in their underwear.
Mark, Billy, Eduardo, and Dustin Moskovitz (Joseph Mazzello) start comparing the photos of two girls at a time on a computer page called Facemash. Ten houses are listed at the bottom. Mark says he will send facemash.com to a couple of people. Some girls complain about the site.
Erica’s roommate tells her that he blogged about her, and she looks at it. Two boys asks Erica if a bra is hers, and her roommate tells them to get out.
Eduardo notes they are getting a lot of traffic and asks if they should shut it down before they get into trouble.
A balding man in bed gets a call at 4 a.m. that Kirkland is getting an unusual amount of traffic. He tells his wife that he has to go in because Harvard’s network is about to crash.
Mark and Eduardo think the network is down, and the others confirm it.
Sitting around a conference table with seven people Mark is asked by a woman if he was called before the Administrative Board. He asks if Erica said that he said all that at the bar. The woman says she read it in the transcript of her deposition. Mark asks why she was deposed. He says if he is embarrassed, he will more likely settle. His lawyer says they have been meeting three hours, and he asks for a break. Mark says she made a lot of that up, and the woman says she was under oath. During the break an attractive woman asks Mark if there were 2,200 hits in two hours, and he says it was 22,000.
The crew teams are rowing in the river. Identical twins Cameron Winkelvoss (Armie Hammer) and Tyler Winkelvoss (Josh Pence) wonder how they could do better.
In a cafeteria a student tells Cameron and Tyler that a sophomore choked the network at 2 a.m. rating female undergrads on hotness.
More people are sitting around a larger table, and Cameron and Tyler introduce themselves.
At a square of four tables a woman tells Mark that it is an administrative hearing for charges he has violated security, copyrights, and privacy. He stands up and says he has already apologized in The Crimson to the women. In regard to security he believes he deserves recognition., and he sits down. She asks why, and he says for exposing weaknesses in their system. The man in charge of Harvard’s network security assures him their system is sound. Mark disagrees.
Eduardo is waiting outside when Mark comes out and tells him he got six months academic probation. Eduardo says the thing about the farm animals was stupid, but Mark says he was kidding and asks if anyone has a sense of humor. Eduardo says he got all the girls to hate them.
A teacher lectures to a class on computers, and a note is passed to Mark that reads “u dick.” Mark gets up and starts to walk out. The teacher says he is the first to give up, and Mark gives the answer before he walks out the door. The teacher says that is correct.
In the hall Cameron and Tyler introduce themselves to Mark and ask if they can talk about an idea they have. He agrees, and they take him into a building he has not been in. Inside the bike room Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) asks if he is Zuckerberg and says they were impressed by Facemash. Mark is given a sandwich. They also checked out Coursematch which enables one to see what course one’s friends are taking. Mark says he also invented an app for an MP3 player in high school. They ask how much he got from Microsoft for it, and he says he uploaded it for free. A Winkelvoss says they have been working on the Harvard Connection for a while so that people can see your bio. Mark asks how it is different from My Space and Friendster, and they say it is focused on Harvard. Cameron says they would like Mark to work with them. Divya says it could help rehabilitate his image with women. Cameron says their first programmer went to work for Google, and the second got overwhelmed with schoolwork. They want him to build the site and write the code, and he agrees.
At the table with the lawyers Mark says that was three of four years ago. The woman asks when he came to Eduardo with the idea for Facebook, and he says it was called The Facebook then. A lawyer says it does not need to be complicated, and Mark says he is involved in several lawsuits. Mark says he approached Eduardo about The Facebook at a party at the Jewish fraternity.
A band is playing Caribbean music. Eduardo asks if Asian girls are attracted to men like him. They see Mark. Eduardo tells him that he got punched by the Phoenix, but it is only the first of a four-step process. He assumes it is a diversity thing. Mark asks him to come outside.
Outside they shiver in the cold as Mark tells him that people want a site where they can learn about their friends and their entire college experience. He says you would have to know the people to go to their page.
Eduardo in the meeting says that he thought it was great. People would invite their friends to join. He says it would require a lot of code and wondered why Mark came to him.
Mark tells Eduardo they will need start-up cash to rent the servers.
The woman asks if they discussed terms, and Eduardo says yes.
Mark says he will get 70% and Eduardo 30% for putting up the cash and that he would be the CFO and run the business.
Eduardo tells the woman that he agreed. She asks if he added anything else. Eduardo says he added the bit about the diversity thing.
At the meeting they argue if this is relevant, and Mark says they are trying to show that he was jealous of Eduardo and was planning to screw him out of a company that had not even been invented yet. Mark says money is not that important to him, but now he has enough money to buy the Phoenix Club. Eduardo admits that he is plaintiff in one suit and a witness in another. Eduardo says that Mark decided that the Winkelvosses had little to offer him and that he did not need rehabilitating after Facemash because it did what he wanted it to do. Their lawyer asks Eduardo if he was involved with this, and Eduardo says Facebook had little to do with their dating site. Tyler says Eduardo was not even there. The lawyer notes what Mark wrote to the Winkelvosses several times starting on November 30, 2003.
Eduardo gets an envelope under his door and goes to see Mark who says he needs another 200 to handle the traffic. Eduardo says he made the second cut, and Mark says he should be proud even if he gets no farther.
The lawyer reads more letters from Mark telling the Winkelvosses that he is busy and cannot meet with them.
On a cold night during a fraternity test Eduardo correctly answers a difficult question saying what the three lies were about a Harvard statue.
The lawyer says that on January 11, 2004 Mark registered the domain name facebook.com on Network Solutions. Eduardo says to his knowledge that Mark had not begun working on the Harvard Connection. The Winkelvosses say that then they got a message from Mark that he was not happy with their site. Mark asks if they found any of their code on Facebook, and Divya says he stole their whole idea.
On February 4 Dustin comes to Mark and asks him what he knows about a girl. Mark runs out of the room and to his dorm room where Eduardo is waiting outside. They go in, and Eduardo is impressed by what he sees on the computer. Mark says relationships drive people; they want to know who is having sex. He says Facebook will enable men to meet girls, and he says it is ready. Eduardo sees his name on the page as co-founder and CFO, and Mark says it is going live now. Mark says he has emails from everyone in Phoenix, but Eduardo says he is not in Phoenix yet. Mark asks him for their emails because they know people, and Eduardo gives him the information. Mark says the site is live, and Eduardo offers to buy drinks to celebrate. Mark is falling asleep in his chair.
At the Phoenix House girls are using computers, and Divya gets upset and leaves. He goes to where the Winkelvosses are training for crew, and he tells them that Mark stole their site.
In a room Divya is trying to call Mark, and the Winkelvosses discover that you have to be at Harvard to join the Facebook. They read news articles where Mark said he could do a better job, and 650 people registered on the first day. Divya says Mark lied to them for six weeks while he got a head start on them. They argue about what to do. Divya wants the mafia to beat him up, but Tyler Winkelvoss prefers to hire their father’s lawyer, but Cameron says one does not do that at Harvard.
The lawyer asks Mark if he knew the Winkelvosses were a wealthy family, and he says he did not. The lawyer points out that he must have known they have money. He asks why he did not go to them for money, and Mark says he preferred going to Eduardo who was president of the Harvard Investors Association. He was also his best friend. The lawyer says his best friend is suing him for $600,000,000. Eduardo says the Facebook exploded on campus, and Divya says everyone was using it.
Mark and Eduardo are attending a lecture by Bill Gates. An Asian student asks Eduardo to Facebook her. As they leave the lecture Eduardo tells Mark how great that is.
In their room Eduardo tells Mark that it is time to start monetizing the site to bring in money. He wants to use advertisements, but Mark does not agree. Eduardo finds a “cease and desist” letter and asks Mark when he got it. Eduardo says the Winkelvosses are saying that he stole their idea. Eduardo asks if they did steal it. Mark says he did not use any of their code. Eduardo asks why he did not show him the letter. Mark says he went to Student Legal Services, and he wrote to them.
The lawyer asks Mark why he did not raise any concerns with the Winkelvosses in the first few weeks. Mark explains why he does not want to give the lawyer his full attention. He does not like to listen to lies and would rather be doing his work. They stop for lunch.
Eduardo dates the Asian student and goes into a restroom with her for sexual activity. Later Eduardo and Mark stand at the door and tell a man that two girls are in there.
Mark asks to talk with Erica and asks if she knows about his new site. She complains about what he wrote about her, and she refuses to leave her friends to talk with him. Mark tells Eduardo they have to expand.
In their room Mark says they are expanding to Yale and Columbia. He gives orders, telling Chris Hughes (Patrick Mapel) to handle publicity and get a story in the BU newspaper. He makes Dustin vice president of the company and gives him 5% from his share. Chris asks who the girls are, and Eduardo introduces Christy (Brenda Song) and Alice who offer to help. Eduardo adds Stanford.
The lawyer Marilyn Delpy (Rashida Jones) asks Mark if he wants lunch. She says he must hate the Winkelvosses, but he says they are suing him because things did not work out they were supposed to for them.
Divya tells the Winkelvosses that he is expanding to three schools, and he wants to hire a lawyer to get an injunction, damages, and punitive relief. Cameron disagrees and says it would not look good. Divya says he is violating many laws, and Tyler agrees there is Harvard law. He looks in the Harvard student handbook, and they find students cannot steal from each other.
A Stanford girl named Amy gets out of bed and talks to Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) about what he knows about her. He says he is not a student, but he founded Napster. She says he is a zillionaire; but he says he is broke because there is no money in free music and many people are suing him. She says she has to go to class, and he asks to check his email. He sees something on her computer and makes her come out of the shower to tell him about Facebook. She says she is addicted to it. He sends himself an email and decides he needs to find Mark Zuckerberg.
The Winkelvosses go into the office of President Larry Summers and explain that Zuckerberg stole their website idea. They say what other remedies they tried, but Summers does not see it as a university issue. They disagree and say the idea is worth millions of dollars. He thinks their imaginations are running away. Summers finds out from his secretary that they got the meeting because of their father. He refuses to give them special treatment. He says the courts are at their disposal and dismisses them.
In the lawyers’ meeting Eduardo says he went to New York to meet with advertisers during spring break and says so far only $1,000 was put into the company. He says the meetings went badly because Mark was asleep.
Mark is bored while Eduardo tells an advertising executive that 91% of the people who try Facebook come back.
Before another meeting Mark says it is not a business yet, but Eduardo says that is hard for him because that is his part. They talk about the founder of Napster.
Eduardo tells the lawyers that he was nervous because Sean crashed out some internet companies.
Sean Parker comes in and meets them. He orders food, and Christy chooses the drink appletini which Sean orders for the four. Sean explains why his first company declared bankruptcy. On the online rolodex he was thrown out. Sean says they tapped his phones.
Eduardo says Sean was delusional and how he told stories about California and computer businesses.
Sean questions them about the Facebook, and Eduardo asks if they should advertise. Sean says the Facebook is cool, and they don’t want to ruin it with advertising. He says it could reach one billion dollars.
Eduardo says that Sean owned Mark after that meeting. Before leaving, Sean told them to drop the “the” and make it just “Facebook.”
In the car Mark urges Eduardo to agree to delay advertising.
Eduardo asks if he ever did anything that would be grounds for termination. Mark’s lawyer says he was accused of animal cruelty. Eduardo says that in Phoenix he was made to carry a chicken for a week.
Mark reads an article and complains that torturing animals is bad for their business.
Eduardo says he resolved the issue, and Mark agrees to forget about it. Mark says he is using a Facebook page to get help on his final exam in art.
Eduardo refuses to answer a question about that. Mark’s lawyer tells Eduardo that they found out about the Crimson article and that Mark tried to defend him.
Mark tells Eduardo he got a place to live near Stanford. Eduardo warns Mark about Sean, and they argue.
Eduardo finds Mark at a hacking party where students are drinking during a contest. Eduardo tells him that he opened an account with $18,000 for him. Mark determines who won the hacking contest and welcomes him to Facebook.
The woman asks Eduardo why he put that money in an account for Mark. Eduardo did not think too much could go wrong in three months.
Mark and others are experimenting around a pool and cause an explosion. Sean answers the door, and Sean explains that he was helping his girlfriend Sharon move out and asks what happened. He is glad that Mark came to California. Sean asks where Eduardo is, and Mark says he got an internship in New York.
At a nightclub Mark tells Sean that his plan is to expand to a hundred schools during the summer. Sean tells how a man built up the company Victoria’s Secret. Sean says he started Napster to get a girlfriend. He says this time is our time. Mark admits he lives and breathes Facebook, and Sean says it is a once in a generation idea. Sean tells Mark he will put him on two continents.
The Winkelvosses compete in a regatta in England on the Thames, and at a party afterward they meet Prince Albert and are with their father. They learn that Facebook is now at Cambridge and Oxford. Cameron goes to a computer to check. Tyler and Divya finally persuade Cameron to sue Mark.
Sean talks to Mark on the phone while people work on computers. Sean answers the door , and Eduardo comes in out of the rain. Eduardo sees Mark and says he waited an hour for him at the airport. Mark mentions a billionaire, and Eduardo asks why Sean is setting up meetings. Eduardo says he is the business end, and Sean is living free there. Eduardo asks to talk to Mark. Eduardo says he quit the internship his first day. He says Christy is crazy. Eduardo complains about Sean representing their company. Mark says it is moving fast. Mark says they are in 160 schools and need more money. He says Sean set up meetings all over town. Eduardo feels left behind.
Eduardo goes to a bank and freezes the account.
Sean and Mark meet with a man who says they will start them with a $500,000 investment. He asks who Eduardo is.
Christy comes into Eduardo’s bedroom and asks when he got back and when he was planning on calling her. He says he brought her a present. She asks why his status on his Facebook page is single. He asks her to calm down. She is angry and accuses him of having silicon valley sluts. She hands him a phone and says it is Mark. He tells Eduardo that his freezing the account endangers Facebook. If their servers go down, their reputation is severely damaged. Mark says it is like dominos. Eduardo sees that Christy has a fire going in a waste basket. He finds a fire extinguisher and puts it out. He tells Mark that he had to get his attention. Mark tells him that they got $500,000, and he wants him to come back and be his CFO. Eduardo tells Christy that he is going back to California, and he is breaking up with her.
Eduardo meets with two financiers and asks how many shares he has. He says that Mark does not care about money and needs to be protected. They ask him to sign.
Lawyers asks Eduardo if he knew he was signing his own death certificate. He thought the lawyers were his too. Eduardo says that Mark said he was not going back to school.
Mark tells Eduardo that they have a million members.
In a van Sean tells Mark what to say in his meeting, and Mark says okay.
Eduardo says he got an invitation from Mark for the millionth member party, and he went to California. He says he was ambushed.
Eduardo thought he was being asked to sign another contract. He finds out what it is and goes to Mark who says he is wired in. Eduardo smashes the computer and says he issued 24 million new shares of stock. Mark says he was told. Eduardo asks how much their shares were diluted. Those of Mark, Sean, and others were not diluted, but Eduardo’s shares were diluted down to 0.3%. Mark says he signed. Sean says they would not let him stay. Eduardo says Mark planted the story about the chicken. He says Mark better get a lawyer because he is coming back for everything. Sean tries to give Eduardo his check for $19,000. Eduardo threatens him and then walks away. Sean says they are having a party. Mark says Sean was rough on him, and Sean says he almost killed it. Sean invites Mark to a party at Ashleigh’s sorority. They see that the membership has passed one million, and the employees applaud.
At the party Sean tells a girl about the digital age. Police come in, and people leave. Ashleigh says something is going on downstairs. Sean finds out it is the cops and warns the girls. The police ask for identification. The girls say they are 21.
Mark answers the phone, and Sean tells him what happened. Mark says it will be news, and he will get it under control. Sean says someone sent the coke in, and he asks Mark if he believes him. Mark tells him to go home.
Marilyn tells Mark that they are done for the day. She asks what happened to Sean, and he says he still owns 7% of the company. She agrees that Mark is a not a bad guy. He asks what happens next. She says they are working on settlement agreements. She says she has experience with juries and warns him he would lose them. He says he was drunk, angry, stupid, and blogging. He thanks her for her help. She says he is not an asshole, but he is trying hard to be one. He uses the computer there and looks up Erica’s page.
Titles indicate that the Winkelvosses received $65 million and signed a non-disclosure agreement. Eduardo received an unknown amount, and his name was restored to Facebook as co-founder. Facebook has 500 million members in 207 countries and is valued at 25 billion dollars. Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in the world.
This drama portrays the founders of the most successful social network and shows their conflicts most of which were eventually settled with the help of lawyers.