Mark Zuckerberg Was Hurt By 'The Social Network'

by Loretta Donelan

Mark Zuckerberg has, for the most part, remained quiet about the film David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin made about him and Facebook. However, during a public Q&A on Thursday, Zuckerberg discussed The Social Network , among other topics.

When an audience member brought up the film, Zuckerberg first responded with a nervous laugh and an "oh boy" and joked that he'd blocked the memory. He went on to remark that the film was not all that accurate.

The reality is that writing code and building a product and then building a company actually is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about. You can imagine a lot of the stuff they had to embellish and make up. If they were really making a movie [of my life], it would have been of me sitting at a computer, coding for two hours straight, which probably would have just not have been that good of a movie.

He also commented on how the movie portrayed him as selfish, and revealed that the reason the movie gave for why he created Facebook — "to get girls" — is wrong. "They just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful."

Also of note in the Q&A was his discussion of his infamously casual gray T-shirt. He explained that he tries to reduce frivolous and unimportant decision making during the day. "I really want to clear my life to make it so I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community," he said. Does this seem like the Zuckerberg of The Social Network, who made a lot of careless decisions related to women and his image? And his joking, humble personality in the video doesn't seem that much like Jesse Eisenberg's tactless and cold portrayal, either.

It seems that with the emergence of depictions of the tech world, including the upcoming Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic, this might become a problem. How do you depict developments that for the most part take place on a computer screen in a language few of us understand? It doesn't seem right to create someone's personality falsely or create drama where there isn't one. Somehow, I feel that the hilariously inept genius depicted on HBO's Silicon Valley is more accurate to reality than the icy and hip tech world created by Sorkin and Fincher. And real Silicon Valley residents seem happier with the comedic portrayal.

In telling the stories of real people, writers like Sorkin owe an amount of honesty to their subject and their audience. Perhaps, since Steve Jobs' new biopic is arriving after his death, Sorkin will have more source material to work with, and thus deviate less from reality. I hope, and I'm sure, Jobs' many avid fans won't let him get away with all that much embellishment.

Image: Getty