Posted: July 18, 2010 in General
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It’s action stations at the Facebook offices: a cheeky troublemaker is claiming 84 percent of the shares in the famous online social networking site. The individual goes by the name of Paul Ceglia and is a former Harvard student. He claims to have been hired by Mark Zuckerberg in April 2003 to develop a website entitled “The Face Book” by 1st January 2004. Paul Ceglia also maintains that Mark Zuckerberg signed a contract with him to pay him 1000 dollars for his work, as well as to give him half of the shares in the site. Furthermore, according to this supposed contract (of which no one to date has seen a single page), Ceglia was to get 1 percent more for each day work continued after 1st January 2004. The Facebook site did not become operational until 4th February, 34 days later than planned. As a result, Paul Ceglia believes that 84 percent of the shares in Facebook are now owing to him, and he is banking on a jackpot of 5.2 billion dollars! With this in mind, in June he submitted a claim to a regional court, but Mark Zuckerberg has managed to get the troubling case transferred to the federal court system. A Facebook spokesperson has described the claims as “frivolous”, but the stakes are enormous: a year ago, the social networking site’s share capital was valued at 6.5 billion dollars, at a time when it was bought into by a company called DST.

This is not the first time that the official Facebook founder has been accused of theft, lies and cheating in the process of launching the famous website. Last March, an online economic news site called “Business News” suggested that Mark Zuckerberg had stolen the business plan and sabotaged a project by his former partners to create Facebook. “Business News” certainly does not pull any punches, claiming in the article that Mark Zuckerberg had been playing on two fronts, making his friends believe that he was working flat out on their shared project “ConnectU”, while he was actually developing his own social network at the same time, plagiarising the code used for “ConnectU”! The dispute between Zuckerberg and his former partners from his student days ended with a confidential, amicable agreement in 2008, but other suspicions of fraud remain. Furthermore, several of his former friends are still pursuing cases against him. Paul Ceglia is the latest to try to recuperate part of the Facebook treasure, but we bet there are plenty more opportunists tempted by the chance to strike gold! One thing is certain, the story of Facebook is leaving the innocent virtual world of its geeky founders and entering the more dangerous territory inhabited by cheats and crooks. It would make for a great movie script, and, would you know it, David Fincher is in the midst of writing exactly that, on the basis of his book “The Accidental Billionaires”, which tells the story of Facebook from its birthplace in Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room. The film’s slogan is now undeniable:”You can’t make 500 million friends without making a few enemies!”


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