9 Real-Life Events The Social Network 2 Could Cover Over A Decade After The Facebook Movie

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Summary

  • Mark Zuckerberg’s marriage to Priscilla Chan, a drastic change from his single lifestyle in the first film, would be a major theme in The Social Network 2.
  • Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as its move towards monopolizing the social media landscape, would be depicted in the sequel.
  • The controversies surrounding the Metaverse, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook’s role in the Myanmar genocide, and the Facebook Papers would all be significant plot points in The Social Network 2.


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Now that The Social Network 2 is a real possibility, it’s worth examining some of the real-life events the movie could take on. 2010’s The Social Network is a bona fide masterpiece. The film, which traces the tumultuous early years of Facebook through the eyes of its billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg, strikes gold with its masterful screenplay, top-notch cast, and committed director. The film lays out a fascinating story of the young Mark Zuckerberg, an intelligent yet flawed individual whose newfound success may see him do great and terrible things.

13 years on from the original film, it’s fascinating to see how the next chapter in the real Mark Zuckerberg’s story has played out. Facebook has only grown in power and influence, yet the company and its young CEO have been plagued by controversy after controversy. Since the real-life story has evolved so dramatically, both the writer and director of the original film have teased the possibility of The Social Network 2. Such a film would need to reckon with how Facebook has changed, and how the company has changed the world in turn.


9 Mark Zuckerberg’s Marriage To Priscilla Chan

The Pair Have Been Married Since 2012

One of the main themes of The Social Network is Mark Zuckerberg’s relationship with women. It’s Mark’s breakup with Jessica Albright that spurs him to create the Facemash website, and the film proceeds to imply that romance is one of Mark’s main motivations throughout his Facebook journey. The real Zuckerberg insists that, in the true story of The Social Network, he was already dating his future wife, Priscilla Chan, when most of the film’s events unfolded. In any case, Mark being married in a Social Network follow-up would be a drastic change from his lifestyle in the first film.

8 Facebook’s Purchases Of Instagram & WhatsApp

The Combined Acquisitions Cost $20 Billion

Mark Zuckerberg

It’s clear in the original movie that Facebook is well on its way to becoming an industry titan. This status has only been cemented in the years following Facebook’s acquisitions of both Instagram and WhatsApp. The latter purchase, at $19 billion, was the highest amount ever paid for a VC-backed startup. The acquisitions served as a clear signal that Facebook is not only interested in being a popular social networking service, but in monopolizing the social media landscape. It’s a natural escalation of the trajectory set in the first Social Network.

Facebook Spent Over $10 Billion On The Metaverse In 2021 Alone

One of Zuckerberg’s biggest gambles in the years since The Social Network has been The Metaverse. Following a $2 billion acquisition of VR company Oculus, the corporation has funneled eye-watering sums of money into the creation of a virtual world that he envisions (via Guardian) as a “successor to the mobile internet.” So far, Zuckerberg doesn’t have much to show for his efforts. The company’s VR platform, Facebook Horizons, has provoked widespread ridicule for its poor interface, poor visuals, and extremely limited capabilities.

In 2023, the company announced that it will be pivoting away from the Metaverse and towards AI, seemingly admitting that Zuckerberg’s colossal gamble has not paid off. The Social Network painted Mark Zuckerberg as an enigmatic and difficult genius, yet his public Metaverse failure exposes him as a fallible figure. A follow-up would have to reckon with the change in public perception of Zuckerberg, with the Metaverse serving as one of the biggest factors.

6 Facebook Becomes A Trillion-Dollar Company

The Company’s Market Cap Has Since Dropped Back Down To The Billions

Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker in The Social Network with Jesse Eisenberg, sitting on sofa.

Facebook made headlines in 2021 after passing a trillion-dollar valuation in the stock market for the first time. While Facebook wasn’t the first corporation to reach the milestone, it was put in company with only four other US businesses at the time: Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The number would strike a particular chord in a Social Network sequel, due to its association with one of the original Social Network’s most iconic quotes: “a million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” A billion dollars seems colossal in the first movie, but the company’s recent trillion-dollar valuation would show just how far things have progressed.

5 The Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Zuckerberg Was Called In Front Of Congress To Answer For The Violation

Mark Zuckerberg before congress

The Cambridge Analytica scandal was arguably the most important event in Facebook’s post-Social Network timeline. The discovery that the company had allowed consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal data of tens of millions of users in order to influence global elections permanently transformed Facebook’s public perception. After being called to testify before Congress, Mark Zuckerberg became the poster child for the sinister influence of big tech. Any Social Network follow-up film would be incomplete without the inclusion of this vital turning point in the company’s history.

4 Facebook’s Role In The Myanmar Genocide

A Lack Of Burmese-Speaking Moderators Contributed To The Spread Of Propaganda

Mark Zuckerberg

Reports of Facebook’s manipulation and misinformation-peddling have only worsened since the days of Cambridge Analytica. Amid claims that Facebook misinformation contributed to the January 6 insurrection, even more serious allegations came out of Myanmar, where Facebook’s algorithms reportedly promoted genocidal propaganda (via Time) against the nation’s Rohingya ethnic group. Facebook published a human rights impact report, in which it admits that the company could have done more to curb the spread of misinformation on the platform. The propaganda led to deaths and mass displacement, painting the gravest picture yet of Facebook’s inability to wield its considerable power responsibly. A Social Network sequel could reckon with this failure.

3 The Facebook Papers

The Whistleblower Was Former Facebook Employee Frances Haugan

Mark Zuckerberg gesturing with a pen in The Social Network

The problems of modern Facebook were once again exposed in 2021 with the Facebook Papers. The massive internal document leak indicated that the company was fully aware of many of the most harmful consequences of their platforms’ practices, but elected to ignore them in prioritization of profit. The thousands of internal communications give an unprecedented level of insight into the thought process of Facebook’s leadership. The seeds of Mark’s ambition were evident in the first Social Network; thanks to the Facebook Papers, a sequel could deliver a methodical and factual condemnation of the company-wide ideology of greed.

The Name Change Was Announced In October 2021

Mark Zuckerberg talking

By changing the name of the umbrella company from Facebook to Meta in 2021, the corporation underlined the importance of three key events. First, the change highlighted Zuckerberg’s commitment to the Metaverse, which he saw as the future of the company (at the time). Second, the change reflects the company’s ambitions of being a tech monopoly, one whose reach extends beyond its flagship site. Third, many interpreted the change as a reaction to the Facebook name being tarnished by the recent Facebook Papers. These three events in the company’s history could be covered at once by using the rebrand as a major plot point in The Social Network 2.

1 Facebook’s Daily Active Users Fall For The First Time In 2022

The Figure Dropped From 1.930 Billion To 1.929 Billion

The perfectly-paced The Social Network tells the story of Facebook’s meteoric and relentless rise. In the decade since, Facebook has only continued its ascent. However, 2022 saw Facebook’s total daily active users fall for the first time ever. The slump caused the company’s stock value to drop by around $200 billion (via BBC), representing the possible beginning of the end of the site’s supremacy. This would be a powerful plot point in The Social Network 2, allowing the second movie to operate as a counterpoint to the unmitigated success story of the first.

Sources: The Guardian, Time, BBC