Over the past few weeks, there has been a flurry of rumors surrounding Facebook. While we’re hearing mentions and partial stories from a thousand different sources, let’s put it all together and see exactly where Facebook stands, as of today.
Is the vast majority of the site owned by someone else? What exactly was Zuckerberg’s “deal” with this mystery character, if any? And what about that movie?
The TV Interview
On the day of a 500 million user announcement, Zuckerberg sat down with US television network ABC to tell the story. The video shows a characteristically-uncomfortable Zuckerberg talking about what Facebook means, both to people and to the company:
To recap, a former employer of Zuckerberg’s named Paul Ceglia claims to have a contract showing that he owns 84% of Facebook. While the battle gets whittled down in court, Zuckerberg has admitted to having a business relationship with Ceglia, via Zuckerberg’s time as a freelance hacker at RentACoder.com
However, that information alone doesn’t really lead anywhere. What could have been damaging, however, was a lawyer from the Facebook camp stating that they were “unsure” as to whether the contract existed. Zuck, however, has stated that he is “quite sure” that a contract giving Ceglia 84% of the company was never signed…even if he did stammer a bit before spitting out the words.
In order for this case to move, however, one side or the other needs to be able to prove their claims. As of yet, that simply hasn’t happened.
Then, of course, there is “that movie“. The Social Network is advertising itself to be a (possibly over-dramatic) portrayal of Zuckerberg’s work while at Harvard, and then moving into Facebook as it is today. Zuckerberg, however, claims that the movie is a work of fiction.
The situation reminds me heavily of Eminem in the movie 8 Mile. While Eminem said it was a work of fiction, the movie was so close to what we all believed to be the truth that it somewhat became the truth itself. I’m firmly convinced that the same will be said of The Social Network. Partly because we don’t know the truth, and partly because we all love a good story, the movie will become the story of Zuckerberg and taken for fact, whether it is or not.
What Is The Truth?
This is the singular question that seems to surround everything at Facebook lately. Even though there obviously wasn’t the massive user loss in the aftermath of the privacy changes, the site still has more than a few dissenters.
Facebook appears to be attempting a cleanup of its name, however. Lately, Zuck has been more open about what he wants the company to do. Facebook has implemented easier privacy features, and seems to be headed in a more open-door direction.
However, as “the movie” says: you don’t get 500 million friends without making a few enemies.