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Accidental Billionaires
casey butler 13 front page editor
December 16, 2010

“You don’t get to 500 Million friends without making a few enemies,” according to the recent popular movie The Social Network, which tells the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook. Although not widely known, the movie is based on Ben Mezrich’s book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal.

The Accidental Billionaires captures your attention on page one and refuses to let go. At a “prepunch party,” Harvard student Eduardo Saverin hopes to join a Final Club, or secret society. He is uncomfortable and awkward, but not nearly as much as the curly-haired boy standing in the corner alone. Saverin comes to the conclusion that the boy in the corner simply does not understand social networking necessary to win acceptance into such the prestigious club. This boy seemingly socially clueless boy is Mark Zuckerberg, ironically the genius behind Facebook and online social networking.

Zuckerberg’s girlfriend recently dumped him, and so angry and intoxicated, Zuckerberg decides to do something to embarrass his “ex” and others who humiliated him. He hacks into the school’s files and obtains pictures of nearly every girl on campus. He easily creates a site that will randomly post two girls’ pictures to chose the hotter one.

The site is an instant phenomenon on campus but earns Zuckerberg a less than glowing reputation with most of the girls on campus. When brought before the Harvard’s disciplinary committee, Zuckerberg apologizes but said the school was at fault for revealing flaws in their security system.

Presented in a less-than-flattering light, Zuckerberg appears selfish, rude, self-satisfied, and socially awkward. He wears Adidas and a hoodie sweatshirt to meetings, and will never looks others in the eye. Money, he constantly says, means nothing to him. He is uninterested Facebook’s financial potential, which creates tension amongst friends. He forgets promises or goes back on them.

Zuckerberg called the original Facebook “Facemash,” and as it gained popularity, the Winklevoss twins, also Harvard students, approached the creator with an idea. They want to see Facemash used to facililtate romantic relationships like a dating site, and their idea is set apart by the concept of privacy, open only to Harvard students.

The twins have limited technical abilities, and so Mark agrees to indulge them by helping them build the site for a few months. However, when he drops out of the project, he leaves them with no site, only to launch Facebook himself.

The conflict has lead to multiple widely publicized lawsuits filed against Mark and Facebook. The Winklevosses believe Mark stole their idea and impeded them from creating any competition by pretending to help them. Saverin, who helped Zuckerberg, responds with a lawsuit against the twins.

Facebook has transformed socializing for today’s youth and for people of all generations worldwide, yet so few people know about the site we visit multiple times a day.

Weather you love Mark Zuckerberg or hate him, weather you have a Facebook account or not, there is no denying that he has created a social revolution. As he himself wrote on his business cards, “I’m CEO… B**ch.”