There are two main types of jerks in this world.
Tucker Max, author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, is a verbally abusive narcissist, and he’s exactly what smarter, tier-two jerks like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg aspire to become.
In 2004, Zuckerberg was a deeply insecure 19-year-old with a hunger for power, acceptance, and recognition. Much of this is apparent in Zuckerberg’s demeanor. He is often described as both arrogant and socially uncomfortable.
“He was this nerdy guy who was just a little bit out there,” Priscilla Chan, Zuckerberg’s longtime girlfriend, said in a recent New Yorker article.
In a 2008 profile of Zuckerberg, Rolling Stone’s Claire Hoffman described him as being “dejected” and “alone.”
“One of the world’s most popular networking tools was launched by a brilliant but ostracized nerd sitting alone in a dorm room,” Hoffman wrote.
Most commentators have taken the upcoming release of The Social Network, a film about the controversies surrounding Facebook’s creation, to demonize Zuckerberg.
Hatred towards the Facebook inventor has some merit, being that he’s done terrible things on his road to fame and fortune, not unlike many of today’s CEOs.
While studying at Harvard University, Zuckerberg hacked into the administration’s database and uploaded photos of every single female student onto a website called Facemash that allowed students to rate the “hotness,” or lack thereof, of each girl.
Facebook (formerly known as thefacebook) spawned from this shallow, squalid endeavor, and that’s when Zuckerberg began receiving the on-campus attention he’d long been striving for.
It’s been suggested that Zuckerberg acted out of spite, being that he’d just been rejected by a romantic interest and felt perpetually alienated from the Harvard social scene. Just like everybody worth knowing, Zuckerberg was burned and the victim of unrequited affection. He could have risen above it, but he instead chose to engage in rather creepy behavior.
What happened next paints a very negative portrait of Zuckerberg and is perhaps the reason why so many people hate him.
After the launching of Facemash, Zuckerberg was approached by three other students who wished to collaborate with him on a new kind of social networking webpage. Unbeknownst to his business partners, Zuckerberg spent the next few months creating thefacebook.com.
Zuckerberg claims to have had little faith in the capabilities of his co-workers, and he surely wanted all the credit for himself. That’s exactly what he got, much to the chagrin of his frenemies.
Is it valid to characterize Zuckerberg as irreverent for deceiving his friends, degrading the Harvard female population, calling Facebook users “dumb f-cks,” and toying with the privacy of Facebook users? Probably, but, like many situations, the Zuckerberg fiasco is not black and white.
Regardless of its complicated, scandalous origin, there’s something to be said about Facebook’s success. More than 500 million people are registered on Facebook, and half of these users visit the website daily. While some argue that Zuckerberg continuously alters Facebook privacy settings to exploit the profiles of others, it’s really up to each Facebook user to determine how much information he is willing to share with the world.
Zuckerberg didn’t make Sally Sorority Sister post status updates about her underage drinking adventures, nor did he encourage Francis Freshman to create a Facebook group that pokes fun at a particular professor.
News outlets, blogs, and newspapers everywhere are antagonizing Zuckerberg, yet will any of these writers or pundits deactivate their Facebook profiles in protest of Zuckerberg’s missteps and false moves? How many people are actually going to be disgusted enough by his decisions to get rid of Facebook entirely? Because it has changed the world of social networking, Facebook will still grow in popularity. News outlets will not get rid of their Facebook fan pages, nor will critics erase their Facebook accounts.
For a 26-year-old, Zuckerberg has an outstanding number of fall-outs and spats under his belt. During a time when many twenty-somethings are struggling to find jobs, sometimes as a result of their Facebook profiles being monitored by employers, it’s difficult to feel sorry for Zuckerberg for being too smart for his own good.
With that being said, it’s also incredibly naïve and unfair to dub Zuckerberg the anti-Christ and the worst thief in recent U.S. history. Facebook appeals to a vast majority of the population, so Zuckerberg will continue to serve even his worst enemies.
Laura Donovan is a journalism intern at The Daily Caller. She is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, where she was a reporter, columnist, and opinions editor for the daily student newspaper. She hails from Northern California but prefers the pace and work ethic of the East Coast. Email Laura Donovan and follow her on Twitter.