Could Facebook make its own rebuttal to 'The Social Network'?

It’s no secret that Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg is not a fan of the idea that a major Hollywood film may go on to define his life on celluloid. But “The Social Network“, which comes out next month in film festivals and nationwide October 1, is exactly that — a Hollywoodised version of the Facebook founding story, complete with Zuckerberg at its helm as the hacker-traitor antihero.

It must be a perplexing time for the company, as The New York Times reports, in deciding whether to ignore the movie and hope that it dusts into oblivion, or to fight back — legally or otherwise — to prevent it from misrepresenting the company and its CEO as it sets out to become the cultural sensation that it promises.

But with names like David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin attached, a trailer that’s received a fairly positive response, and a marketing campaign that makes it clear that the movie is no made-for-TV HBO documentary, the bets are against the former.

So far, the talks between the producers of the movie and Facebook have been glum. As a part of its privacy policy which prevents advertisers from using the Facebook brand name, the movie is barred from advertising on its platform, though it has been permitted a low-profile fan page. On the flipside, the producer of the movie, Scott Rudin, has shown it to top executives Elliot Schrage and Sheryl Sandberg, and admits candidly that “they did not like it.”

Zuckerberg himself has been open about his distaste for the movie. In a recent onstage interview at the Computer History Museum, he wrote it off as being fiction, and admitted that he wasn’t planning to see it, just like he hasn’t read “The Accidental Billionaires”, the book on which its screenplay is based on.

“They had two choices of books to base it on, and they chose to base it on a fiction book,” he stated in the interview. “I wish that when people try to do journalism or write stuff about Facebook, that they at least try to get it right.”

David Kirkpatrick, the author of “The Facebook Effect”, thinks that there is a chance, given how many details in the movie are distorted, that the company might be “forced to deliver a forceful rebuttal once the film has its premiere, especially if it turned out to be a hit,” according to the New York Times article.

The idea of this is obviously appealing to Kirkpatrick, who is behind the ‘other’ non-fiction book Zuckerberg cited in the statement and has been open about backing — he permitted Kirkpatrick to interview him for the book and has given joint interviews with Kirkpatrick himself, such as the one at the Computer History Museum, to promote the book.

If there is ever another ‘Facebook movie,’ there is little question that it would be based on Kirkpatrick’s non-fictional and heavily researched account of the story; one he has crafted based on actual interviews with the people involved rather than legendary folktales and fictional fillers.

If “The Social Network” turns out to be a “Wall Street” — and not just a “Pirates of Silicon Valley” — could the company want to clear the air and make its own version of the tale?

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