A few weeks ago, I watched “The Social Network” for the first time, not at all expecting the controversies and insanity that surrounded the creation and founding of one of the largest, if not the largest, social networking sites in the world: Facebook. Facebook, in and of itself, is an ever-changing and improving work of art. Whether you like social media or not, you cannot deny how it has revolutionized humanity in how we communicate, spread information, and stay up-to-date on current events (however sensationalized Facebook news articles can be). It’s amazing how I can browse the wall of my friend in math class in sixth grade whilst simultaneously chatting with my aunt who lives in Tokyo, Japan. And not only is Facebook itself art, but the billions (yes, billions) of users who post there everyday have turned it into their own medium for art, by sharing their photos, videos, poems, music, and ideas on the site.
No one would really expect that Facebook was born out of controversy and lawsuits about stealing ideas and codes. Mark Zuckerberg was sued in 2004 by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss over allegations that he claimed he would help them produce their own social networking site thought to be the original Facebook, Harvard Connect, but instead stole valuable source code that he used to turn into Facebook. After a lengthy legal battle, the court awarded the Winklevoss brothers with a settlement of cash as well as Facebook stock, worth about $120 million. Many argue that what Zuckerberg did might have been dishonorable, but he has created Facebook into so much more than what Harvard Connection was or could have ever been. He spent hundreds of hours writing new codes for it and developing what he already had to make improvements that would allow Facebook to become as prevalent as it is.
Despite its controversial origins, it is undeniable that Facebook is a work of art. And while it is also difficult to refute that Zuckerberg did commit a crime when he stole the source code and the essential idea of Harvard Connect, that doesn’t mean that Zuckerberg is undeserving of any sort of creative merit he receives for Facebook. With that being said, the fact that Facebook was created due to theft doesn’t keep billions of people from using it every single day. It has been integrated into our lives to such a degree that we don’t even realize how prevalent it really is.