Mark Zuckerberg Might Have Promised Someone 50% of Facebook in Emails From 2003

Everyone giggled a little bit when Paul Ceglia said he was the rightful owner of half of Facebook based on a promise from founder Mark Zuckerberg back in 2003. "If you had invented Facebook, you would've invented Facebook," and all that. The plaintiff waited until 2010 to file his lawsuit and in the interim, was convicted of fraud, not exactly bolstering his credibility. Facebook said Ceglia faked some of his documents, but now he's back with a more powerful attorney and what looks like more damning proof: emails from Zuckerberg himself discussing "the face book" and agreeing to a 50% share.

Business Insider reports that the emails include talk of funding and Zuckerberg claiming that the project was not doing so hot (likely a lie).

They discuss how Ceglia will fund the project. They discuss how Ceglia has funded the project (proof of payment). They discuss how Zuckerberg has met some upperclassmen--the Winklevosses, presumably--who are pursuing a similar project, and how Zuckerberg is "stalling" them. They discuss how Zuckerberg has failed to complete the "face book" project on time. They discuss the launch of the face book, which Ceglia agrees looks great.

Though Facebook is "confident in [its] assessment" that the emails are "fake," they are pretty convincing, and as BI puts it, "if the emails and contract Ceglia produced are indeed fake, the fraud should be easy to expose (so easy, in fact, that we imagine DLA Piper's investigators would already have exposed it--which leads us to question whether the emails and contract really are fake)."

Mark Zuckerberg Might Have Promised Someone 50% of Facebook in Emails From 2003

The rest of the paperwork can be seen here.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]

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