The Ivy League twins who accused Mark Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook at Harvard back in 2004 have reengaged their legal battle with him, on the heels of an award-winning movie
, an unauthorized biopic and a graphic novel
that have brought greater focus to a social network that has already attracted a half billion-plus followers.
Dubbed sarcastically, "The Winklevii," by Facebook's CEO in the movie The Social Network
, are now claiming their initial $66 million settlement from Zuckerberg fell short of its real valuation. In a recent 60 Minutes interview
with Lesley Stahl, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss said it's more "about the principle" than the money. Stahl responded by noting that since Facebook has amassed a $7 billion valuation, how could it be "anything but the money."
In a Sydney Morning Herald
post, it was reported that Facebook's founder was also guilty of securities fraud and the twins want him to ante up an undisclosed additional amount based on the valuation. Mark Zuckerberg disputed their claim to Leslie Stahl and said the original settlement reached in 2008 is enforceable.
In a graphic novel satire, titled "Facebucks & Dumb F*cks
" the illustrated narrative shows how Zuckerberg's
not-so-social interaction with the twins (aka Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee) might have played out 10,000 years ago.Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
The two-fold meaning of the title of the book underscores the network's worldview. For starters, it refers to how one social network scaled beyond all others to become its own financial institution complete with the ability to mint its own money. Secondly, it references the multitude of blind faith followers, Mr. Zuckerberg (aka Z-Man) in his early years labeled "Dumb F*cks" when asked how he was able to attract so many.
The Winklevosses, who now ironically have Facebook profiles of their own, say they were trying to build their own social network, called Harvard Connection, (later dubbed ConnectU), and asked Zuckerberg to write the code for the Web site. Their claim is based on the reality that Zuckerberg started his own rival called TheFacebook - renamed to Facebook. Differing from the 'dating site' the the twins had imagined, some similarities between the two networks do exist.
While the twins claim to be the masterminds behind Facebook, it's interesting to note, that the twins have done very little on their own to develop an alternate social network. While Facebook wasn't the 'first mover' in the social network space back in 2004, it scaled significantly to overtake the leading network of the day - MySpace. The Winklevii had the same opportunity - but chose to make litigation
and Olympic rowing
their career choices instead.
On the flip-side, Zuckerberg maintains his social media "bad boy" image that he has been desperately trying to overcome - with charitable donations to the Newark School District
and other similar social causes. In the The Social Network
movie, when Zuckerberg's girlfriend breaks up with the condescending genius, she calls him an "a**hole."Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novel
In the graphic novel,
the creators allotted the Winklevii (aka "the Tweedle Twins") the same opportunity.Page from Facebucks & Dumb F*cks graphic novelFacebucks & Dumb F*cks
is available at FifoBooks
at $3.99 - and makes for a great Christmas gift for your favorite Facebook and social media friends. (note: adapted for the digital age, this book is only available on iPads, Kindles and other eBook readers. There are presently no print versions.)
Readers can also follow Facebucks & Dumb F*cks
. The book has attracted close to 2000 friends on Facebook and over 6000 followers on Twitter, at the time of this posting.