Mark Zuckerberg Says The Social Network Was “Hurtful,” Parts Were “Made Up”

Mark Zuckerberg and Jesse Eisenberg
Mark Zuckerberg was played by Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network. Win McNamee/Getty Images; Merrick Morton

You don't get to 500 million friends without making one very powerful enemy. Four years after the release of the Oscar-winning Facebook movie The Social Network, the site's founder Mark Zuckerberg is voicing his opinion on the film. 

The tech CEO, 30, commented on the David Fincher-led 2010 movie in a live Q&A streamed on Facebook on Thursday, Nov. 6. An audience member asked Zuckerberg how accurate The Social Network was. 

"Wow, I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about that movie in a while," Zuckerberg admitted, looking taken aback. "I kinda blocked that one out. It was a very interesting experience to watch a movie that was supposedly about my life… supposedly."

"I think 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," the billionaire explained. "So you can imagine that a lot of the stuff they probably had to embellish and make up. If they were really making a movie, it would have been of me, sitting at a computer coding for two hours straight, which probably would have just not been that good of a movie and these guys, I think, want to win awards and sell tickets."

And win awards, it did. The Social Network was nominated for eight Academy Awards and six Golden Globes, taking home awards including the Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing, and the Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. The juicy tale of Zuckerberg's rise to success — which all began in his dorm room at Harvard — also brought in $224.9 million at the international box office.

"They went out of their way in the movie to try to get some interesting details correct, like the design of the office, but on the overarching plot, in terms of why we're building Facebook to help connect the world, or how we did it, they just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful," Zuckerberg said. "I take our mission really seriously, and we're here not primarily to just build a company, but to help connect the world… The thing that I found the most interesting about the movie, was that they kind of made up this whole plot line about how I somehow decided to create Facebook to I think, attract girls."

The critically acclaimed film opens with a scene between Eisenberg and Rooney Mara, who played Zuckerberg's then-girlfriend Erica Albright. She is shown dumping the college student, who finds his revenge, in part, by taking the first steps toward the creation of the worldwide social network. As The Facebook takes off, Zuckerberg gains groupies and becomes much more successful with the ladies. 

"One important piece of context is, the woman who I'm married to, who I've been dating for more than 10 years, I've known for more than 10 years, I was actually dating her before I even started Facebook," added Zuckerberg, who married his longtime love Priscilla Chan in May 2012. "If somehow I was trying to create Facebook to find more women, that probably would not have gone over too well in my relationship, and I probably would not still be married to her today."

As to his ties to the film, Zuckerberg said that he's had little interaction with the personalities behind the movie, including screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and star Jesse Eisenberg, whom he finally came face-to-face with in 2011. 

"To this day I haven't met the writer or a lot of the folks who made the movie," he said. "I met the guy who played me in the movie one time when I was on Saturday Night Live. I think he was a little afraid to meet me after his portrayal, but I tried to be nice… I think the real story is just a lot of hard work."

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