A Boston judge is expected to decide this week whether or
not to proceed with a lawsuit alleging that the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg,
stole the idea for the social networking site from three former classmates at
Specifically, the founders of ConnectU, which was originally
called HarvardConnection, Divya Narendra, Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler
Winklevosss, claim that Zuckerberg stole the idea for the social networking
site while he was recruited to develop a part of ConnectU.
The pending litigation originates from actions brought about
in 2004. The lawsuit was refiled earlier
this year on March 27.
Cameron Winklevoss has a record of 52 email exchanges and
three meetings between his team and Zuckerberg, where the group discussed the
Zuckerberg says that he voluntarily agreed to contribute six
hours of coding for the ConnectU site, but denies that he had knowledge of it
being a social networking system. Instead, he claims that he believed it to be
a personal site to connect students, alumni and employers.
“I never really
understood their product, but it was not a social networking site,” Zuckerberg
said in a previous Stanford Daily
The lawsuit alleges
that Zuckerberg intentionally delayed progress on his work for ConnectU by more
than two months in order to give Facebook a jump for an earlier release.
Facebook then launched in February, 2004 while ConnectU didn’t launch until
“It's sort of a land grab,” Tyler Winklevoss has said to the
Globe. “You feel robbed ... The kids down the hall are using it, and you're
thinking, 'That's supposed to be us.' We're not there because one greedy kid
cut us out.”
Representatives for Facebook said, “We do not comment on
pending litigation,” while the founders of ConnectU were not immediately
The founders of ConnectU are now are pushing for U.S.
District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock to shut down Facebook and give them control
and profits of the website.
Facebook is expected to earn $125 million in ad revenue this
year, and is worth more than $1 billion – a buyout figure presented, and later
rejected, reportedly from Yahoo!