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The Most Accurate Part Of The Social Network Isn't What You Think

The category "historical drama" probably conjures up images of corsets, horses, and Keira Knightley, but prepare to feel old: "The Social Network" was released in 2010, set in 2004, and based on real-life historical events recorded in a book that hit shelves in 2009, "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich. The film can very reasonably be called an early-'00s period piece. 

The movie covers the origins of a little tech company you might have heard of called Facebook, and a few things you didn't know about its young founder Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and his co-founder Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield). It caused a sensation when it was released, partly because it lifted the lid on one of the most famous and popular companies in the world, and partly because it was, frankly, a great movie. Only the ridiculously competitive Best Picture category in 2011 stopped it from claiming the top Oscar, and it won three others.

However, "The Social Network" did not show Zuckerberg in the best of lights. He is portrayed as socially awkward, cold, easily manipulated, dishonest, and disloyal. In fact, there was only one aspect of the movie that Zuckerberg thought was accurate, and it isn't what you think.

Mark Zuckerberg was floored by this detail in The Social Network

Without getting into everything "The Social Network" got wrong about the true story, it's fair to say Zuckerberg sees it as a deeply flawed portrayal of himself and the history of his company. When the movie came out, he tried to play it cool. Speaking at Stanford University's Startup School in October 2010, a couple of weeks after "The Social Network" hit movie theaters, he joked that he didn't need to talk about Facebook's "old days," because "A movie just came out that is 100 percent accurate" (via CBS News).

More recently, Zuckerberg has admitted that inaccuracies in the movie did bother him. At a public Q&A session at Facebook's headquarters in 2014, he said of "The Social Network" that, "They just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful" (via The Guardian). However, he added that the filmmakers did go to impressive lengths "to get some interesting details correct like the design of the office."

In particular, he was blown away by the costumes. According to Entertainment Weekly, at that speech to Stanford University's Startup School in 2010, Zuckerberg said, "Every single shirt or fleece [in "The Social Network"] is actually a shirt or fleece that I own."

The Social Network's costume designer used Facebook to get Zuckerberg's clothes right

Zuckerberg can thank "The Social Network" director David Fincher and costume designer Jacqueline West for what he considers to be the most accurate (if not the only accurate) detail in the movie. He can also thank the very platform he created.

According to the Daily Beast, the notoriously detail-oriented Fincher actually found someone who went to Harvard during the time when the movie is set and had mutual friends with Zuckerberg, as well as access to his Facebook profile. The reason the shirts and fleeces he's wearing in the movie are so spot-on is because West was able to see them in his own photos on Facebook!

West told the Daily Beast that although Zuckerberg famously claims to be disinterested in what he wears, she thinks that "in a funny way he's created a fashion" by sticking to this deliberately anti-fashion look. After all, it's thanks to Zuckerberg that the uniform of the tech bro broadened from black turtleneck to shapeless hoodie.

Unsurprisingly, in the decade and a half since the events depicted in "The Social Network," Zuckerberg's style has evolved somewhat. He still tends to stick to a uniform, as a way to limit the amount of decisions he has to make every day, but it's now a tight-fitted shirt rather than a hoodie. This new look and the many dramas Facebook has been through since 2004 may yet make it to screen: "The Social Network" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin says "there should be a sequel."  It might be a good time for Zuckerberg to update his Facebook privacy settings, if he doesn't to see his own wardrobe reflected back at him again.