Should Facebook De-friend Mark Zuckerberg?
It's going to be all Zuckerberg, all the time for the next week or so, thanks to a confluence of events both planned and accidental that are putting Facebook and its barely-old-enough-to-shave founder in the spotlight.
Let's start with the money.
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Thanks to an infusion of private equity into Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg vaulted forward to No. 35 on the Forbes list of the world's richest Americans this week, passing Steve Jobs (No. 42) and Rupert Murdoch (No. 38). Until Facebook actually issues stock on the open market, most of Zucky's $6.9 billion is theoretical. Still, it's real enough for him to take $100 million out of his wallet and hand it over to New Jersey public schools.
The timing of this gift is just a scosh suspicious. Zucky's handing over the Big Check on Oprah next Friday, October 1 -- which happens to be the day "The Social Network" opens in theaters nationwide. "The Social Network," of course, has already made headlines for its heavily fictionalized and sexed-up account about how Facebook began.
Salon's Andrew O'Hehir says Zucky probably won't be going out to buy the Blu-ray version as a keepsake:
As played by Jesse Eisenberg in the movie, Harvard sophomore Zuckerberg is a thoroughly unpleasant boy-genius who seems to suffer from a combination of tetanus, an autism-spectrum disorder and a slow-acting intestinal poison.
If nothing else, the movie will revive controversy about how Zucky "borrowed" the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss twins (voted by their Harvard classmates as Millionaires Most Likely to Star in a Disney Cartoon). Zuckerberg's attorneys tried to buy off the pair with a $65 million settlement in April 2008, only Tinky and Winky (aka Cameron and Tyler) got a whiff of Facebook's real worth and are demanding a larger slice of the pie. Publicity from the movie can only help their cause.