The Social Network's Aaron Sorkin quits Facebook

Writer of Oscar-winning drama is no longer a friend to Mark Zuckerberg's creation due to 'opinions on social media'

Aaron Sorkin, who won an Oscar in February for his screenplay for Facebook drama The Social Network, has quit Facebook, it was revealed today.

Sorkin, 50, was speaking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity at a session alongside David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme. His admission came as part of a discussion of the downsides of sites such as Twitter. Sorkin described himself as "this side of being a Luddite", and said he had been on Facebook while he making the film, but had since given up his account.

"I have a lot of opinions on social media that make me sound like a grumpy old man sitting on the porch yelling at kids," he said.

The Social Network chronicled the ascent of Mark Zuckerberg, who created the website while studying at Harvard, then battled two lawsuits from aggrieved former colleagues. It won Oscars for its editing, score and screenplay, which Sorkin adapted from Ben Mezrich's non-fiction book The Accidental Billionaires.

Sorkin's scepticism of social media was shared by the film's star, Jesse Eisenberg, who joined Facebook under a false name while in production but left soon afterwards, unnerved by the experience.

"[I] was sent a message from Facebook suggesting people I should befriend," Eisenberg said last October.

"One of them was a girl my sister was friends with in high school. I don't know how they found her, no idea. I signed off right then."

The film's director, David Fincher, has also spoken of his reluctance to sign up to the site. "I have a healthy disdain for the hypocrisy of the notion of this interconnected world," he told the Guardian in February. "But I don't think that makes me some old fuck with an axe to grind."

But the apparent disconnect between the film's subject and the technological proclivities of its key crew provoked some comment following the film's cinematic release. Writing in the New York Review of Books, Zadie Smith expressed discomfort about The Social Network being a film "about 2.0 people made by 1.0 people".

Sorkin and Fincher had, she felt, ascribed inappropriately old-fashioned motives to their antihero, who is shown dreaming up the site after a bruising breakup and then being further fuelled by feelings of social inadequacy.

But Fincher defended his and Sorkin's veteran status. "I think the film is probably a pretty good meatloaf of good old dramatic values held together with some 2.0 extender.

"I acknowledge that video games could be an amazing art form – but not until the people making them go back a bit, to the Aaron Sorkin way of thinking about character and motivation."

Sorkin, who became famous for penning White House series The West Wing, used the platform to trumpet the quality of current television, which he described as "the best theatre in America".

"The best artists, the best writers, the best directors are coming from movies and into television. We are beginning to overcome the passive relationship people have with television.

"You couldn't watch something like The Wire in the background, like listening to the radio. You have to really concentrate."


Catherine Shoard

The GuardianTramp

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