How true-to-life is “The Social Network”? Depends on who you ask

November 1, 2010

From a legal perspective, one of the most intriguing things about the hit movie “The Social Network” is that it’s based on a book that got most of its facts from legal depositions made by the real-life characters in the movie.

Of course, deciding which of two competing depositions is closer to the truth is no easy task. So, how accurately did the movie reflect reality? Here’s what some of the main characters had to say about it.

  • Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has called the movie “inaccurate” but also decided early on that he wouldn’t slam the film too harshly, because doing so would only make people want to see it more.
  • Eduardo Saverin, the cofounder of Facebook who was pushed out of the company and later sued Zuckerberg, had a benign reaction to the movie. He recently wrote a blog post for CNBC in which he talks at length about “entrepreneurship and creativity,” but nowhere in the 734-word blog post does he provide a clue as to what he thought of the movie. (Side note: Saverin was the only Facebook alum who talked to the author during the writing of the book.)
  • Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the brothers who sued Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing their idea for Facebook while the three attended Harvard, say the film accurately portrays the birth of Facebook. It also gets another bit of history right: The identical twins did compete on the U.S. rowing team in the Beijing Olympics – and they really did place sixth.

Of course, you can always judge for yourself; the trial court documents are all on Westlaw.

» Saverin cross-complaint against Zuckerberg and Facebook (2006 WL 6627814)

» Winklevoss complaint against Zuckerberg and Facebook (2007 WL 1230524)

» Zuckerberg complaint against Saverin (2008 WL 8099168)