Facebook Controversy Great Free Publicity for Film

Privacy concerns, CEO revelations could mean big hit for "The Social Network"

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, May 20, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Facebook Controversy Great Free Publicity for Film

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Rising star Jesse Eisenberg plays Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network," which could cash in on the buzz surrounding the site's controversy.

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With a release set for October, Columbia Pictures is betting on the Aaron Sorkin-penned and David Fincher-directed "The Social Network" to be an Oscar contender.

The film, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, is based on the titillating history of Facebook's early days at Harvard, "The Accidental Billionaires."

And all of the recent controversy over Facebook's privacy problems, revelations about CEO Mark Zuckerberg's ethically challenged time at school, and an ongoing legal dispute over credit -- and money -- for the company's founding could all mean boffo box-office for the film for all the free publicity.

Facebook has distanced itself from the book and the movie, accusing both of being merely gossip.

The script portrays Facebook co-founder Zuckerberg, played by Eisenberg, as a ruthless and shrewd businessman who betrayed friends and business partners in order to succeed.

Jackson West figures that capitalism rewards conniving and not cooperation, so you get what you get.

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