Missing the Point of Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The Social Network’

The Social Network

The Social Network

Great insight from New Republic writer Lawrence Lessig on how “The Social Network” writer Aaron Sorkin completely misses the point of the story of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. Lessig concludes that the audience will miss the point, too.

The real deal here is innovation, and how the Internet is the most powerful platform for it in our history. Because of it, Lessig writes, “Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone” [emphasis mine].

Zuckerberg put his code, his idea, on the Web for all to access for less than $1,000. Used to be, the question of distribution was a tough one for some innovators. Not so for Zuckerberg. Not so for anyone with a Web-ready idea today.

But people who see “The Social Network” this weekend likely won’t get that, Lessig writes:

Practically everyone walking out will think they understand genius on the Internet. But almost none will have seen the real genius here. And that is tragedy because just at the moment when we celebrate the product of these two wonders—Zuckerberg and the Internet—working together, policymakers are conspiring ferociously with old world powers to remove the conditions for this success. As “network neutrality” gets bargained away—to add insult to injury, by an administration that was elected with the promise to defend it—the opportunities for the Zuckerbergs of tomorrow will shrink. And as they do, we will return more to the world where success depends upon permission. And privilege. And insiders. And where fewer turn their souls to inventing the next great idea.

Full article: Sorkin vs. Zuckerberg, The New Republic

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