What Really Happened

The Social Network Misses the Story

The Social Network may be a hit with moviegoers, who puzzle over the film’s core riddle of whether Mark Zuckerberg created the wildly successful website on his own or with help from his (mostly) uncredited (ex-)friends. But the movie misses the more interesting story of Facebook: How did this kid get 500 million people to use his site? The focus on the intellectual property fight between Zuckerberg and his college classmates, and its undercurrent of theme of disdain for web developers has probably-not-coincidental parallels in Hollywood’s contempt for digital innovation—unsurprising, given that Hollywood has got business wrong before. A truer and more interesting tale would have been about how years of internet collaboration enabled the creation of Facebook and many other successful sites, argues Gordon Crovitz in The Wall Street Journal. Despite the movie’s implications, “ideas alone can’t be patented.” Which is great. “Otherwise, innovation would be frozen,” Crovitz writes.