I’ve written in the past about how frustrating I find the fact that The Social Network purports to tell us something revealing and important about Facebook’s founders, despite the fact that it’s based on fictionalized source material. Unsurprisingly, the founders turn out to find that frustrating as well. The actual events that they’re arguing over including in the movie — including a “mostly made up” scene involving bare breasts and strippers — aren’t that germane to understanding Facebook’s nature and development, but the fact that they’re arguing over them is.The internal logic the Facebook founders guide their personal lives and their business by is fascinating, and contradictory. To some extent, there’s a free-market element to this all. Facebook users are given the tools to humiliate themselves, but there’s certainly no requirement that they do so. At the same time, even discretion isn’t enough to ensure that your privacy will be protected, given the company’s internal controls, or lack thereof. The founders seem to largely operate on principals of self-protection; they abide by their own internal rules. But they also seem to dislike it when other people force them to live by the second part of the functional rules that govern their product: there’s only so far you can lock up information. The debate might be different if the movie was based on credible source material, instead of a book so speculative that it gives Zuckerberg & Co. an excuse to cast doubt on true events as well as falsified or misemphasized ones. But it’s still an intriguing one. If you build a big chunk of the world, you tend to get stuck living in it.
A Follow-Up On The Facebook Movie