Those of us who saw The Social Network in the past few months all pretty much had the same reaction. It was a great movie, but how in the world did they get away with portraying Zuckerberg as a self-absorbed, success-obsessed, arrogant, backstabbing wunderkind? You’d think the powers that be at be at Facebook would try and stop the production of a film that would hurt the reputation of their iconic CEO (or at least confirm the image for the many who already had doubts about his integrity).
At the Golden Globe Awards last night, after The Social Network won the prestigious award for Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Score, and Best Picture, producer Scott Rudin seemed to try and appease the uneasy minds over at Facebook HQ with some almost apologetic words in his acceptance speech:
“I want to thank everybody at Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg for his willingness to allow us to use his life and work as a metaphor through which to tell a story about communication and the way we relate to each other.”
Some even went on to say that the portrayal wasn’t even really true. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin basically said the jerk in the film is not the same as the real deal.
“I wanted to say to Mark Zuckerberg, if you’re watching tonight, Rooney Mara’s character makes a prediction at the beginning of the movie, she was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a visionary and an altruist.”
The prediction, for those who don’t remember, was that he would be a great success in the computer world, and that if girls don’t like him when he’s older, it wouldn’t be because he’s a nerd, but because he’s an asshole.
Zuckerberg has mentioned in public appearances that very little of the personal details in the movie are factually correct. The most glaring inaccuracy is in the entire premise that the movie puts the creation of Facebook into. The entire first “act” of the film sets up a situation where Zuckerberg would create Facebook with the clear intent of ameliorating his reputation with the undergraduate females of Harvard. In reality, he had a steady girlfriend all through the Facebook saga, and they are still together.
According to a New York Times interview with Sorkin, there was no attempt to make The Social Network into a historically accurate biopic of Zuckerberg.
"I don't want my fidelity to be to the truth; I want it to be to storytelling. What is the big deal about accuracy purely for accuracy's sake, and can we not have the true be the enemy of the good?"