THE SOCIAL NETWORK
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by L who says, "The story is told in a relatively linear fashion but it breaks away to courtroom scenes between Mark Zuckerberg, his lawyer Sing and counsel, Mary (Rashida Jones). He is being sued by his former business partner, Eduardo, and the group of students who came up with the idea for HarvardConnection (the initial idea for Facebook)."
Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Erika Albright (Rooney Mara) are on a date in a bar where Mark is extolling the virtues of final clubs at Harvard and how they lead to a better life. His curt and abrupt manner of talking begin grating on Erika’s nerves and his general insensitivity ruins her evening. He tells her that when he’s in a final club, she’ll get to meet people that she never would have met otherwise. Offended by this, and the implication that she slept with the bar’s bouncer, Erika breaks up with Mark and leaves him drunk and upset, dwelling on the fact that to her, he is nothing more than an asshole.
In his rage, Mark goes home and starts drinking. He posts a scathing blog about her on Livejournal and his roommate suggests comparing girls to farm animals online to rank the women. Mark posts that this is a good idea, but decides that he would rather compare the women head to head. Erika learns of his negative blog posts insulting her breasts and her heritage and gets even more upset with Mark. As women descend on Harvard for a Phoenix frat party, Mark constructs Facesmash.com in his dorm. The key component is an algorithm which Mark’s best friend, Eduardo Savarin (Andrew Garfield) developed for ranking chess players. Eduardo gives Mark the algorithm and the Harvard servers can’t handle the amount of traffic.
Mark is before the board of the Harvard committee for breaking numerous copyright laws and school laws. He gets 6 months academic probation and has ruined his reputation, but the notoriety is what he was aiming for and bears the burden. His exploits attract the attention of Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss (Armie Hammer) and Divya Narenda, a group of friends who have an idea for an exclusive social networking site for all of Harvard, which will help them get girls. They recruit Mark for their business venture but Mark knows their idea is not what it could be.
At a Jewish fraternity, Mark learns that Eduardo has been recruited by Phoenix for pledge week. Mark is bitter about it and writes it off as a diversity requirement. Eduardo is hurt but listens to Mark when Mark tells him about an idea to condense the social experience into a website. He puts off working for the Winkelvosses and designs thefacebook.com on his own. After 16 weeks he is able to get the site off the ground, with Eduardo bankrolling him.
Within 48 hours, thefacebook.com spreads around Harvard virally and gets 658 members. Narenda sees the site and instantly knows they’ve been screwed over by Mark. He tells Cameron and Tyler and Cameron wants to sue Mark and make him cease and desist before the idea can reach critical exposure. Tyler tells them that as Harvard students, they can’t sue because it isn’t right. Cameron calls their father’s lawyer to schedule a meeting with the President of Harvard to discuss the academic actions which can be taken. The President brushes them off and tells them to try the court system. Tyler still isn’t convinced that it is the best course of action.
Mark realizes that the site is missing something and a friend helps him realize that thefacebook.com needs relationship statuses in order to promote the idea that you can meet someone through the site and possibly get laid. At a presentation by Bill Gates, Mark and Eduardo get recognition from two Asian girls who want to hook up. They each end up having sex in a bathroom stall and afterwards, Mark sees Erika at dinner with friends. He tries to patch things up with her but she coldly brushes him off, telling him that what he did was written in ink and he can never take it back. Upset, he leaves and decides that thefacebook needs to expand so that he can show her how far he’s come and how far he’ll go.
Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) wakes up in the dorm of a Stanford girl he went home with the night before. By pure chance, he sees thefacebook.com open on her computer (since Mark expanded it to Stanford). He is impressed and decides to meet with Mark and Eduardo.
Mark, Eduardo, Eduardo’s girlfriend Cindy and Sean have dinner in a fancy restaurant. Sean plants the idea that Mark needs to move to California to get in on the action and Eduardo explains that he wants thefacebook to make money since he is bankrolling and wants to make a profit. Sean and Eduardo do not get along because Eduardo simply does not trust him. Sean invented Napster and is rumored to be a paranoid druggie, something which Eduardo doesn’t think they need. Sean tells Mark to drop the “the” so that thefacebook is only “facebook.”
Mark decides that over the summer, Facebook will go out to Silicon Valley. Eduardo doesn’t like Sean’s influence and goes off to intern in New York. He gives Mark 18,000 dollars as an investment for the interns working with Mark at their house. Eduardo looks for advertisers in New York.
Mark and Sean go out and party in a club in California and Sean tells Mark about how he founded Napster: heartbroken he created the next big thing to steal a girl from her lacrosse-playing girlfriend. He hasn’t thought about her since. Mark seems like he wants to forget Erika and decides to bring Sean into facebook.
Eduardo arrives at the house a few weeks later, having been left in the rain outside of the airport for an hour waiting for Mark. Sean greets him at the door and the two trade sharp insults. Mark tells Eduardo that Sean has been looking for investors and lined up a few. Eduardo is pissed about Sean’s influence so he cancels the credit line on the account for facebook and goes back to New York. As Sean lines up a deal with the man who invented Paypal, Eduardo is back in New York dealing with his crazy girlfriend, Cindy. Cindy thinks Eduardo is cheating on him and burns the silk scarf he bought her in CA. He dumps her and once he learns that facebook has just got a 50 million dollar investment. Impressed, he flies out and signs papers which give him 7% of the company’s stock.
Eduardo goes back to school for the semester and comes back for the million member party, only to find out that he’s been shafted. As investors were drawn in, his stock was deflated to .37% instead of 7%. When he is told, he flips out on Mark and smashes a laptop in front of him, warning him that when he comes back he will be going after everything Mark and he built. Sean stops him on the way out and gives him a check for 19,000 dollars written on a check from Eduardo’s old account. Eduardo goes to punch him and Sean flinches. Eduardo bitterly laughs about how tough he looks and walks out.
The Winklevosses are at a meet in Cambridge and discover that facebook has reached Cambridge, England. It’s gone international. Pissed, Tyler finally agrees to sue Mark. They get their lawyers ready and proceed to sue.
Sean takes an intern to a party and does some coke with her and some friends. Cops break up the party and arrest Sean and the intern. Sean calls Mark from jail and tells him that Eduardo set Sean up. Mark is upset since it will be in the news and overshadow the million member mark. He hangs up on Sean and sighs, knowing that soon he will be faced with a lot more trouble.
Eduardo and the Winkelvosses sue Mark. At the meetings, he comes off as brusque and doesn’t pay attention most of the time. As they trade barbs, Mary shows some sympathy for Mark and asks him about the things he has done. She eventually tells Mark that he will need to settle, since a jury trial will only lead to Mark losing more money. Mark is upset but accepts it. He asks if he can stay in the building to use his computer for a bit. She leaves him, telling him that he’s not an asshole, just someone trying to be one.
Mark sits alone in the boardroom on his computer and looks up Erika’s facebook. He adds her and just refreshes the page constantly, longingly waiting for her to accept him.
The Winklevosses and Narenda received a 65 million dollar settlement but were appealing for more money. Sean Parker is still a 7% owner of facebook but has no real involvement. Eduardo receives a large settlement and is on the marquee as a co-founder. Facebook is worth 25 billion dollars and Mark is the youngest billionaire in the world.