Film Version of Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Divides GenerationsThe New York Times | October 04, 2010 | 11:59 AM EDTAt what point does ambition, a cornerstone of American commerce, morph into something darker and less celebrated? Over the weekend, people who saw “The Social Network,” the movie about Facebook and its principal creator, Mark Zuckerberg, were left to ponder that question on the sidewalk.
As for the movie’s relationship with the truth of Facebook’s origins, let’s just say it’s complicated. Full of compressions, inventions and cinematic plot twists, this is not a film about the “real” Facebook: it’s just a really good movie. But the movie could well serve as a referendum on business aggression and ambition that breaks along generational lines.
Many older people will watch the movie, which was No. 1 at the box office last weekend, and see a cautionary tale about a callous young man who betrays friends, partners and principles as he hacks his way to lucre and fame. But many in the generation who grew up in a world that Zuckerberg helped invent will applaud someone who saw his chance and seized it with both hands, mostly by placing them on the keyboard and coding something that no one else had.
By the younger cohort’s lights, when you make an omelet this big—half a billion users—a few eggs are going to get broken. Or as the film’s artful tag line suggests, “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies along the way.”
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