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The Winklevoss Twins And Their Relationship With Facebook

Posted on June 24, 2011
Filed Under Mark Zuckerberg | Leave a Comment

Facebook is a popular social networking site that currently encompasses over six hundred million users. The site allows people to connect with their friends, co-workers, and family members quickly and simply. It was originally only accessible to students and faculty of Harvard but it then spread to other universities and, eventually, anyone over the age of thirteen. The founder of Facebook was a young sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg, who accomplished it with a small group of friends, although the Winklevoss twins have made claims and filed lawsuits stating that they had a hand in it as well.

The Winklevoss brothers, Tyler and Cameron, are identical twins who, in their mid twenties, sued Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The men’s litigious behavior was sparked during their final year in college after a long debacle that involved Mark, who had been picked to code and work on a peer connection site.

The twins and their close pal Divya Narendra started working on a social networking site in 2002 while they were students at Harvard. Their project was centered around a need to be able to keep in touch with their fellow students and peers. The website, eventually named ConnectU, was planned to be one where members could send messages and pics to their fellow college classmates.

The siblings approached Mark Zuckerberg, a fellow classmate, after going through temporary programmers to finish the site’s code. Tyler and Cameron had become familiar with his programming work after young Mark launched a small classmate rating website that, in a few short hours, became so popular that it shut down the school’s servers. Zuckerberg and the siblings met in 2003 on November 25th and the goals of the project were outlined.

The two groups apparently entered into an oral agreement over the hiring of Zuckerberg. Over the next couple of weeks he was alloted a private server and the password that allowed him complete access to the Winklevosses codes and unfinished site. It was reportedly understood that Mark would finish the site in time for its tentative launch in exchange for pay in the form of a specific equity.

The newly hired coder had expressed in emails that the completion of the project would be quick and simple. A message later implies that he had begun working on the registration page for the website but several weeks later, the emails suggest that Mark was largely unreachable.

Mark Zuckerberg copyrighted the domain name facebook.com in early January of 2004 and, a couple of days later, finally got together with the twins but made no mention that he was starting a competing social media website, though he did ensure them he was making headway with their own site.

Tyler and Cameron did not hear about Mark’s side site until a few days after it was unveiled. They asked their original coder to look at Uconnect’s code, who said later that he discovered it was incomplete and useless. The twins sent Facebook a cease and desist form and when it was ignored, sued him for breaking his oral contract and using their idea to create his own peer connection website. Mark later settled and his site is now the most visited social media page on the internet.

The Winklevoss twins have been instrumental in some of the ideas and coding that ultimately resulted in Facebook. The name Winklevoss is well known in Olympic circles as well.

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