The social network: an attempt to grasp the mind behind Facebook
September 14th, 2010
“The Social Network” is a movie about the creation of Facebook, the biggest and the most successful social network worldwide. It has not been released yet, but we know the aim of the movie: try to picture how the young mind of Mark Zuckerberg has been able to create such an influent network.
Facebook allows its more than 500 million users to stay connected with their friends. This rather simple function, stay connected with your friends, has turned out to have many and very profound implications in the lives of the users. New ways to consider one’s privacy and new ways to browse the web have emerged under the influence of social networks like Facebook. The network is not directly related to news consumption, politics, e-government or e-democracy, but it is dramatically changing all these fields.
This explains the growing interest to understand the vision and the philosophy of its principal creator and founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Often described as a programmer of genius, a visionary, he has become the youngest billionaire in the world at the age of 23. The movie is focusing on the relationships between Mark, the co-founders of Facebook and other students who were at Harvard with him when the network was created. He was then 19, in his first year at college, and his success left some very upset people, among which Eduardo Saverin co-founder of Facebook, evicted of the company due to internal conflicts with Zuckerberg, and several other Harvard contemporaries who accused Zuckerberg of stealing their ideas. Directed by David Fincher, an based on Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires, the movie is subtitled “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies.”, and it pictures Zuckerberg rather negatively, as a power driven manipulator, not concerned about losing a few friends to reach his goals.
What his goal is, is what remains unclear, and this movie will probably not help his image. His declared last month “I started Facebook to improve the world and make it a more transparent place.” But not everybody stands to his conception of transparency, as a controversy showed earlier this year, about Zuckerberg stating that privacy was no longer a social norm. Given that situation, we can assume the release of the movie is likely to kick off a new debate about the place of Facebook in our lives.