One drunken night in October of 2003, having just broken up with his girlfriend, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg hacked into the university's computers to create a site that formed a database of all the women on campus, then lined up two pictures next to each other and asked the user to choose which was "hotter." He called the site Facemash, and it instantly went viral, crashing the entire Harvard system and generating campus-wide controversy over the site's purported misogyny, and charges that Mark, in creating Facemash, intentionally breached security, violated copyrights and violated individual privacy.
Yet in that moment, the underlying framework for Facebook was born. Shortly after, Mark launched thefacebook.com, which spread like wildfire from one screen to the next across Harvard, through the Ivy League to Silicon Valley, and then literally to the entire world.
But in the chaos of creation came passionate conflictabout how it all went down, and who deserved recognition for developed into one of the century's signal ideasconflict that divided friends and spurred legal action. The story of Mark, Eduardo Saverin, once Zuckerberg's close friend, who provided the seed money for the fledgling company; Napster founder Sean Parker who brought Facebook to Silicon Valley's venture capitalists; and the Winklevoss twins, the Harvard classmates who asserted that Zuckerberg stole their idea and then sued him for ownership of it, was made into a 2010 feature called The Social Network, which opened in the Number One spot in its first weekend at the box office.