Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Facebook Combatting The Social Network & The Zuckerberg Donation

It was fun to read an article on Yahoo! Finance courtest of the Wall Street Journal about Facebook combating the image of Mark Zuckerberg in the film The Social Network.

The movie doesn't seem to twist the Zuckerberg-story, but the general complaint is that it creates an egotistical and unsympathetic view of the Facebook founder (and world's youngest billionaire) Mark Zuckerberg.

Additionally, Facebook seems to want to control the image of the company with an Initial Public Offering planned down the road.

The film maker's didn't buy the writes to Zuckerberg's story but instead based the film off the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.

This film continues to get good buzz, and despite the suggestion that it is not related Zuckerberg has made his first large donation as a billionaire by donating $100 million dollars to public schools in Newark, New Jersey. Oh, yea...and on the Oprah show none-the-less

How Does This Compare to Other Donors?

Some might say, why hasn't he given like this before and say it's a movie stunt. But even for billionaire's a $100,000,000 donation is a pretty big thing. Compared to big givers in 2009 a gift of this size would have put him just barely in the top 10 for 2009.

Why Newark? Why Now?

There's rumors and strong ones that this money is in conjunction with the film's release. There's a side story that it was going to be an anonymous gift by Zuckerberg, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie convinced him otherwise.

I've tried to understand why Newark was chosen, and while Zuckerberg has ties to the general area, his connections based on his biography seem to be more New York, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and California, not New Jersey.

But if you were going to chosen a school system, Newark's is one of the worst, as it was taken over by the state in 1995 and Governor Chris Christie has not released the school district to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, but is giving him authority in choosing a new superintendent (via CBS).

But it seems like if the deal was really considered to be anonymous, the opposite of anonymous giving is going on the Oprah show...so I don't really give that discussion much credence.

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