Top 10 Things The Social Network Got Factually Right and Wrong
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Top 10 Things The Social Network Got Factually Right and Wrong

VOICE OVER: Noah Baum WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
You can't believe everything you see in "The Social Network" — especially on Facebook! For this list, we're looking at all the things that 2010's "The Social Network," starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake, got factually right and wrong! Our countdown includes whether or not Facebook was created because of a breakup, if Eduardo Saverin was Mark Zuckerberg's only best friend, how Sean Parker discovered Facebook, and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Things “The Social Network” Got Factually Right & Wrong


You can’t believe everything you see - especially on Facebook! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Things The Social Network Got Factually Right and Wrong.

For this list, we’ll be looking at what was historically accurate and what was fiction in this 2010 drama.

#10: Mark Went to a Meeting in Pajamas

RIGHT
In the book “The Facebook Effect” author David Kirkpatrick outlines the history of the social media network and confirms that Zuckerberg did in fact attend a meeting in pajamas. The entire thing was a prank that Sean Parker had convinced Zuckerberg to play on venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital. Parker wanted revenge on Michael Moritz, a partner at Sequoia whom he blamed for ousting him from his previous company Plaxo. Zuckerberg and another partner turned up late and made a presentation about why Sequoia shouldn’t invest in one of their projects. Zuckerberg later admitted that he regretted it, and that it wasn’t a story he wasn’t proud of.

#9: Mark’s Love Life

WRONG
When Mark Zuckerberg was in his sophomore year at Harvard, he met Priscilla Chan at a frat in 2003 and the two soon started dating. They eventually married in 2012. Interestingly, the action of “The Social Network” kicks off in the fall of 2003 and shows Zuckerberg being dumped, which spurs him to create Facemash. While part of this is true (more on that later), the film later shows Zuckerberg as developing Facebook partly to meet girls - when in fact, by that point, he had already started dating his future wife.

#8: Eduardo Froze the Facebook Bank Account

RIGHT
In the movie, we see Eduardo Saverin opposing Sean Parker’s involvement in Facebook’s business dealings and then freezing Facebook’s accounts. This did actually happen, and Zuckerberg was forced to pay for many expenses using his personal funds. What happened next however isn’t ENTIRELY accurate. In the film, Saverin is enraged when he finds out his shares are being decreased from 34% to 0.03%. His shares WERE diluted drastically, but down to 10%. In an email to his lawyer at the time, Zuckerberg wondered: “Is there a way to do this without making it painfully apparent to him that he's being diluted to 10%?" No, there was not.

#7: Mark’s Business Cards Said “I’m CEO, Bitch”

RIGHT
In a scene that takes place in a club, Zuckerberg meets with Sean Parker of Napster fame and Parker gives him an inspirational speech about his hopes for Facebook, saying he wants him to be able to hand out a business card that says “I’m CEO, Bitch”. We later see Mark having cards made with the phrase on them. In Kirkpatrick’s book, “The Facebook Effect” he states that Zuckerberg had two different business cards during this period. One simply said “CEO” while the other really did read “I’m CEO, Bitch”.

#6: Facemash Was Shut Down by Harvard

RIGHT
Just like in the movie, the humble origins of Facebook involved a rather cruel site that Mark set up that compared two female Harvard students’ photos so that users could vote on who was more attractive. And just like in the movie, it was an instant success with 450 people visiting the site in the first four hours it was running. As we see more and more students using it, we also see the concern of the administration at the surge in network usage. Harvard did eventually shut down the site, and Zuckerberg was given academic probation as a punishment.

#5: How Sean Parker Discovered Facebook

WRONG
It’s true that Sean Parker, who was known for co-founding Napster, played a major role in the early days of Facebook. In fact, he was its first president. In a memorable scene from the movie, we see Parker wake up in bed after a one night stand with a girl who goes to Stanford. He wows her when he reveals who he is, and then discovers Facebook when he logs into her computer and sees that she’s been using it. In real life though, Parker’s roommate's girlfriend was the Stanford student who introduced him to the site.

#4: Eduardo’s Chicken Cannibalism Accusation

WRONG
In the movie, Eduardo Saverin is hilariously accused of animal cruelty in an article published in the Harvard Crimson. The writers are incensed that Saverin fed chicken to a chicken while taking care of the animal for his initiation into the Phoenix Club. The Harvard Crimson DID publish an article about Phoenix Club and chickens in December 2003. But it was about claims that the club tortured and killed chickens, not chicken cannibalism. And there was nothing about Saverin in there. So this part of the movie is mostly false.

#3: Zuckerberg Dropped Out of Harvard

RIGHT
On screen, we saw the whirlwind journey from Mark’s Harvard dorm room to Silicon Valley, and it’s shown that Mark chooses to focus on his new company rather than his studies. This is factually accurate, and in order to pursue his work on Facebook, Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard during his sophomore year and did not return. In 2017, once the site had become a massive success and turned him into one of the most famous men in the world, the University awarded him with an Honorary Degree.

#2: Eduardo Saverin Was Mark's Only Best Friend

WRONG
In “The Social Network”, it’s established that Eduardo Saverin is Mark’s best friend, who comes to check on him after learning about his breakup via a blog post. Saverin said of the film in an interview, “That's Hollywood fantasy, not a documentary.” The reality is, Zuckerberg had another close friend and collaborator who didn’t make it into the movie. Adam D'Angelo was a friend of Mark’s from Exeter and was the chief technology officer of Facebook as well as its vice president of engineering. Don’t worry about D’Angelo though, because he found plenty of success when he co-founded Quora.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Mark's Wardrobe
RIGHT

Mark’s Picture Being Featured on the Original Facebook Design
WRONG

Mark Running a Zip-line at Their Palo Alto House
RIGHT

Mark's SAT Score
RIGHT

#1: Facebook Being Created Because of a Breakup

RIGHT
“The Social Network” opens with a bang. We see Mark having a beer with his girlfriend, Erica Albright, and watch as Erica decides to dump him. The thing is though, Erica Alright doesn’t exist. She was a fabrication for the film. What is true though is that heartbreak spurred Mark on to start Facemash, which eventually evolved into Facebook. He wrote on his blog one night, “Jessica A— is a bitch. I need to think of something to take my mind off her.” It was that same night that the site was launched, and the rest is social media history.
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