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‘The Social Network’ Sequel Will Address Facebook’s Recent Scandals

This is one sequel that could be necessary and relevant.
The Social Network prophecy
Columbia Pictures
By  · Published on January 16th, 2019

If the negative headlines surrounding Facebook lately haven’t been damaging enough to the company’s reputation, then a sequel to The Social Network ought to do the trick. Mark Zuckerberg and co. probably aren’t thrilled to know that this movie is potentially happening, but it’s their own fault for providing Hollywood with so much inspiration.

In a new interview with the Associated Press, Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the Oscar-winning 2010 film, revealed that producer Scott Rudin wants to partner up again for part deux. Sorkin isn’t opposed to the idea, either. Check out what he had to say below:

“I knew a lot more about Facebook in 2005 than I do in 2018,” Sorkin told AP, “but I know enough to know that there should be a sequel. A lot of very interesting, dramatic stuff has happened since the movie ends with settling the lawsuits from the Winklevoss Twins and Eduardo Saverin… I’ve gotten more than one email from [Rudin] with an article attached saying, ‘Isn’t it time for a sequel?’”

The writer isn’t exaggerating when he says a lot of “interesting, dramatic stuff has happened” since he last chronicled the unflattering history of Facebook. There’s certainly been no shortage of scandals involving the social media giant in that time. If you want to read about some of the more recent ones, the fine folks over at Wired compiled an extensive list that’s well worth your attention.

But which scandals will the sequel focus on? There’s more than enough for a potent cinematic cocktail to blow our socks off. However, there are a couple that really stand out from the pack.

The most obvious is the terrifying tale of how Russia exploited the site to spread misinformation and influence the 2016 presidential election. The story was covered thoroughly in an illuminating — and damning — New York Times piece. Given that this scandal is deeply connected to Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into possible Russian-Donald Trump collusion, I don’t imagine the sequel overlooking this one.

Additionally, issues have been raised pertaining to the site’s user privacy, which was amplified when we learned that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data from an estimated 87 million users without permission. Like the Russian dissemination fiasco, this played a pivotal role in Trump getting elected, as well as influencing Brexit. Zuckerberg even had to testify before Congress as a result of this, which was a dramatic step up from the legal case depicted in David Fincher‘s film.

One scandal that’s even more disturbing than both of those, but is perhaps overshadowed by them, is the role the company allegedly played in the slaughter of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. According to the United Nations, the company allowing fake news to be spread across the platform played a major role in the massacres. The company even accepted responsibility for this.

Fincher’s movie showed that the road to Facebook’s world domination was paved with behind-the-scenes drama and fallout, but that was all playground stuff compared to these recent developments. Without making light of the severity of ugly real-life situations, this ill-fated chapter in the company’s story would make for a much more compelling film than the 2010 release. I don’t say that lightly.

Essentially, The Social Network is a rags to riches story about young upstarts in the early stages of changing the world. Since then, Facebook has changed the world for the worse. There’s no denying that social media has had a positive impact as well, but these stories are huge and a prime example of how harmful it has been.

These are the thought-provoking questions the sequel can explore, and based on the evidence of the last film, we can rest assured knowing that a sequel will pull no punches. That said, The Social Network was criticized for its historical inaccuracy and negative portrayal of Zuckerberg for dramatic effect. There are enough juicy scandals to sensationalize this time around, but telling a nuanced story that sticks to the facts would more than suffice when it comes to delivering riveting entertainment.

The ideal sequels are bigger and better than their predecessors while also serving as natural continuations. Real life has played out in such a way that this particular sequel could authentically tick all of these boxes. So, should this movie ever happen, at least it will be topical and relevant.

Of course, it remains to be seen if established cast and crew members are open to a sequel. Fincher never repeats himself, so I don’t see this project appealing to him. At least Jesse Eisenberg, who played Zuckerberg, is open to sequels; he’s returning for Zombieland 2 this year. The Social Network earned him an Oscar nomination, so perhaps he’ll be keen to reprise one of his most iconic roles.

Until then, let’s hope Facebook can avoid further scandals. They’re too depressing and exhausting.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.