Mark Zuckerberg on The Social Network

Mark Zuckerberg recently spoke to a group of budding entrepreneurs at Stanford University where he gave his opinions on The Social Network.

Mark Zuckerberg recently spoke to a group of budding entrepreneurs at Stanford University where he gave his opinions on The Social Network.

Although he initially said that he wouldn’t see the film, he relented and then booked out an entire cinema for the whole of Facebook to see it on the opening day of release.

So what did he think of Hollywood’s version of himself and the company he founded?

He was impressed with the costume department:

It is interesting what stuff they focused on getting right. Every single shirt or fleece in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I actually own.

But he was not happy with the opening sequence and the ‘framing’ of the story:

The whole framing of the movie, the way that it starts is that I’m with this girl who doesn’t exist in real life, who dumps me – which has happned in real life a lot.

And basically they frame it as if though the whole reason I invented Facebook and building something was that I wanted to get girls or get into to some social institution. The reality for people who know me is that I’ve been dating the same girl since before I started Facebook.

But I think its just such a big disconnect I think from the way people who make movies think about what we do in Silicon Valley, building stuff. They just can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things.

The geeky call to arms elicited some wildly enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Aaron Sorkin might disagree with this version of events as Zuckerberg did blog about a girl named Jessica Alona whilst he created the FaceMash (the hacking prank which led to TheFacebook) and this was incorporated into the film.

Below is the transcript which Sorkin based the scene on:

Mark Zuckerberg’s Online Diary

However, Sorkin changed Alona’s name to ‘Erica Albright’ (the character played by Rooney Mara) and has explained that he did this for a reason:

“There was nothing in the movie that was invented for the sake of making it sensational. There was nothing in the movie that was Hollywood-ized. There are a couple cases where when it didn’t matter at all, I conflated two characters. There are three cases where I changed a character’s name. One of those characters we never actually see; it’s an off-screen character. In the other two cases it’s just there was no need to embarrass this person more. You have the exact same movie and the exact same truth if you don’t do that. So don’t do that.”

So, whilst there almost certainly was a Jessica Alona, she remains an enigma and has never gone public or given an interview.

As for Zuckerberg’s claim that he was dating his current girlfriend before Facebook even started, that has been hotly disputed.

You can watch the full Stanford interview with Zuckerberg here:

Mark Zuckerberg at Startup School from Wade Roush on Vimeo.

> My review of The Social Network
> More on Facebook at Wikipedia
> /Film on the truth of The Social Network
> Business Insider on the leaked transcripts that revealed more about the early years at Facebook