COMMENTARY | And the battle wages on for Mark Zuckerberg.
Yesterday, a Ninth Circuit court quelled Harvard students Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss' attempt to back out on their 2008 settlement made with Zuckerberg. Their complaint? They argued that they would not have settled for a mere $65 million and partial ownership of Facebook had the social networking site disclosed the actual value of its stock, which was allegedly four times higher.
Today, the hits just keep on coming. Paul Ceglia, a man who already laid claim to the Facebook wealth last summer, has resurfaced, claiming he has evidence of more than a dozen emails between himself and Zuckerberg. These emails state that Zuckerberg intended to split ownership of Facebook evenly between himself and Ceglia in exchange for an early $2,000 investment. Allegedly, these emails also discuss Zuckerberg "stalling . . . upperclassmen that are planning to launch a site very similar" to Facebook. Uh oh.
In these supposed emails, we see some interesting back and forth. After taking Ceglia's $2,000 investment, Zuckerberg tells Ceglia that Facebook isn't doing well, and he's considering shutting it down. In 2004, he even offers to send Ceglia his investment back, which never actually happens.
This, of course, is at the time when Zuckerberg moved to California to build up Facebook. Ceglia, who has been convicted of fraud in the past, attempted a similar lawsuit last summer. However, his lack of a paper trail for the alleged investment made the case too weak to pursue. But apparently he's back with a vengeance, hiring upscale law firm DLA Piper to represent him and providing evidence galore.
Thanks to David Fincher's fast-paced film The Social Network, all these emails seem too perfect to ignore. The film, which brought Zuckerberg's legal battles with the Winklevosses and partner Eduardo Saverin to light, also introduced the world to the genius behind Facebook and all his little foibles. Had there been no movie, it's unlikely anyone would pay such close attention to the news above. But now, all we can see is Mark Zuckerberg typing lackadaisically to the Winklevosses, stalling, stalling and stalling some more so he can build his interpretation of their social network.
Hence why the Ceglia emails aren't so hard to believe. If they are frauds, as Zuckerberg's camp has promptly declared them to be, it will be easy to figure out. If not, we can mentally add another piece to The Social Network puzzle, one that includes Zuckerberg shelling out half of his media empire to the man his camp has called a "scam artist" and a "convicted felon."
Henry Blodget, The Guy Who Says He Owns 50% of Facebook Just Filed a Boatload of New Evidence -- And It's Breathtaking, The Business Insider
Matt Peckham, Harvard Twins Lose Appeal to Quash Facebook Settlement, Time.com
- Eduardo Saverin
- The Social Network
- Mark Zuckerberg
- paper trail
- Henry Blodget
- David Fincher
- Ninth Circuit court