Mark Zuckerberg might have to create a “Don’t like” button for people claiming they own all or a fraction of Facebook. Having already seen off the Winklevoss twins who claimed he stole the idea for Facebook from them, Zuckerberg now faces a convicted fraudster who says he has a contract giving him 84% of the social network.
Paul Ceglia, from Wellsville, New York, said Zuckerberg signed a contract with him that shows he should be entitled to the lion’s share of the business – and late on Monday night released, through his lawyers in the US, a tranche of emails that purport to show him and the Facebook chief executive discussing, between July 2003 and July 2004, various matters relating to “thefacebook” – as the site was known in its early days.
The case will be heard in federal court, following a ruling at the end of March that Ceglia and Zuckerberg live in different states – though the latter grew up in New York before going to Harvard, and then to California where he turned the company into the world-spanning social network, with about 600 million members.
Ceglia claims that in 2003 he hired Zuckerberg, then an 18-year-old first-year undergraduate at Harvard, to do some coding for a site called Streetfax (later Streetdelivery) that he was planning. Zuckerberg was paid $1,000 on a “work for hire” contract, Ceglia has contended in court, and then put to work on a project called “The Face Book” or “The Page Book” in which Ceglia invested $1,000.
Certainly, when Facebook first launched, it was called “thefacebook” – but the other details are disputed by Facebook and Zuckerberg’s lawyers.
Full story: The Winklevoss twins are only the beginning of Zuckerberg’s problems